Alexander Zverev changed his Cincinnati Masters luck after six years of losses, advancing on his seventh try on Wednesday to reach the third round.
It was cause for celebration for the Olympic gold medalist as he defeated South African 7-6(3), 6-2.
“I’m happy where I’m at and I’m happy to get my first win in seven years here,” the German third seed said. “It’s obviously a great start to the week.
“When I came on court and they said Olympic gold medalist, it did give me goosebumps. It made me a little nervous at the beginning of the match, I have to say, because it is a special feeling.”
Russian top Daniil Medvedev, who won here in 2019, was untroubled as he rolled American Mackenzie McDonald 6-2, 6-2, spending just one hour in the rout into the third round.
There was more success for Norway’s Casper Ruud as the eighth seed notched four more aces than American servebot Reilly Opelka – 21 to 17 – in a 6-7(5), 6-0, 7-6(4) victory.
Karen Khachanov, who lost the Tokyo final to Zverev and claimed the silver medal, was beaten 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 by Canadian 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, who will take on Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini.
Italy’s 11th seed Jannik Sinner also lost, a 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-4 victim of John Isner.
Cincinnati masters day 4 highlights: