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At 4:55 a.m. in Acapulco, Zverev completes historic victory over Brooksby
After the three longest matches ever played at the Abierto Mexicano, the No. 2 seed finally clinched match point in the latest finish in tennis history.
Published Feb 22, 2022
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By the time Alexander Zverev hit the court at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel, the clock read 1:35 a.m. local time and we knew we would be in for a historic evening.
The ATP 500 event in Acapulco has long been a favorite stop on the calendar. As a result of the resort town’s balmy daytime temperatures, matches usually enjoy a later start time—making for some epic night session action.
But there has never been a night session quite like this.
John Isner, who owns the record for winning the longest tennis match in history, is no stranger to lengthy on-court battles. Just two weeks ago in Dallas, he and Reilly Opelka set the ATP record for the longest tiebreak in the Open Era in their 7-6(7), 7-6(22) semifinal clash.
The American kicked off an evening of marathon action in Acapulco with his three hour, 13 minute victory over wild card Fernando Verdasco. The 7-5, 6-7(4), 7-6(3) match instantly became the longest match in tournament history, but the night was just getting started.
Isner’s record was short-lived, as lucky loser Stefan Kozlov then downed Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(8), 5-7, 6-3 over the course of three hours and 20 minutes in the second match on Stadium Court.
No. 2 seed Zverev was the evening session's headliner, up against rising Jenson Brooksby who was looking to make it three American wins in a row in Acapulco. The 21-year-old got off to a strong start as he took the first set, but Zverev rallied back to level the score winning a 112-minute second set. With Brooksby running out of steam in late the third, Zverev clinched his 3-6, 7-6(10), 6-2 victory—converting match point at 4:55 a.m.
According to ATPTour.com, it is the latest ever finish to a men’s tennis match, breaking the previous record held by Lleyton Hewitt and Marcos Baghdatis’ early morning battle at the 2008 Australian Open. That match clocked in at 4:34 a.m.
Beginning his post-match press duties at a time when only the most dedicated early birds start their morning, Zverev made sure to give a shout out to the loyal Acapulco crowd, who sat through the whole epic evening and witnessed a slice of tennis history in the process.
“At 5 a.m. the stadium is still quite full. There’s nowhere else in the world where the people appreciate tennis the way they do here,” the No. 2 seed said. “I’m happy to be a part of history. It was an incredible battle, I think it was an incredible match, and hopefully many more to come from me this week.”
Zverev wouldn’t be the first or the last person out and about in the wee hours of an Acapulco morning—but usually they don’t get their names in the tennis history books as a result.
Let’s hope for a shorter day at the office as he goes on to face Peter Gojowczyk in the second round.