Michael Mmoh defeated 12th-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany 6/7(1), 6/4, 6/3, 6/2 to advance in a match played in Margaret Court Arena. The result continued the gale of upsets in the first Grand Slam tournament of the year.
The second round clash was a battle of serves in which each player delivered 13 aces, but the German faltered on his second serve and tallied 12 double faults. He cancelled six break points in all, while Mmoh saved seven. The first set was decided by a tie-breaker, which Alexander won by seven points to one. Thereafter, Mmoh proceeded to take the next three sets, as the recuperating German’s resistance faded.
It was their second career meeting. In the previous face-off, Zverev prevailed 7/6(3); 7/6(4) at the 2016 Miami Masters tournament.
Mmoh’s Cinderella march commenced in the qualifying event in which he was the ninth seed. He defeated America’s Bruno Kuzuhara 6/1, 6/0 in the first round, followed by France’s Benoit Paire before losing in the final qualifying match 4/6, 5/7 to Australia’s Aleksander Vukik. However, he entered the main draw as a lucky loser.
In the first round in Melbourne Park, Mmoh trailed Laurent Lokoli of France by two sets and was two points away from defeat in the third set tiebreaker, which he clinched by nine points to seven. Thereafter, it was a one-way run for Mmoh who took the third 6/4 and the fourth 6/2.
The first week in Melbourne has witnessed many upsets. The top seed and defending champion, Rafael Nadal, lost in the second round to American Mackenzie McDonald. Nadal suffered an injury in the second set of the match. Italy’s strongman and 13th seed, Matteo Berrettini lost to veteran Andy Murray in the first round. Home country boy, Alexi Popyrin defeated eighth seeded American, Taylor Fritz, in the second round. The second seed, Casper Rudd of Norway, suffered an upset by American Jensen Brooksby.
Michael is the son of Tony Mmoh, a member of the 1980s Nigerian Davis Cup team with Nduka Odizor, David Imonitie, Sadiq Abdullahi and Thompson Onibokun as non-playing Captain.
In the Euro-Africa Zone 1988, Nigeria defeated Tunisia, Cote d’Ivoire and Algeria, but lost to Zimbabwe in the final match into the World Group. Zimbabwe lost the first round tie to America in Harare in 2000.