ACAPULCO, Mexico – A trio of men’s players who could be competing for major titles in the coming years will be featured Wednesday night at the Mexican Open, a hard-court tennis event in this Pacific resort city.
Second-seeded Alexander Zverev, a 20-year-old rising star who kicked off his debut appearance at the Mexican Open with a 6-3, 7-5 victory Tuesday night over American Mackenzie McDonald, will square off in the round of 16 against Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk, runner-up in a tournament last week in Delray Beach, Florida.
But before the fifth-ranked Zverev steps on Center Court for his match, scheduled for 8 pm at the earliest, the fans in Acapulco will be treated to the first career meeting between 24-year-old Austrian Dominic Thiem, the No. 3 seed, and electrifying 18-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov.
Thiem signaled that his match against a player six years his junior would not be just a routine round-of-16 match at an ATP 500-level tournament.
“He’s a very, very good young player,” the sixth-ranked Thiem said of Shapovalov, who is ranked No. 45 but already has a win over Spanish world No. 2 and 16-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal. “He’s one of the upcoming superstars of the game. So I’m looking forward to playing him for the first time.”
Zverev, Thiem and Shapovalov are the marquee names in Acapulco following Nadal’s withdrawal from the event due to a lingering hip injury.
Also to be featured Wednesday night on Center Court will be a match pitting the 2009 US Open champion, Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro, against Spain’s David Ferrer, co-holder of the record for most Mexican Open titles with four.
One other ATP Tour rising star, South Korea’s Hyeon Chung, will be in action on the Grandstand court Wednesday afternoon against American qualifier Ernesto Escobedo, who on Tuesday upset countryman and No. 4 seed Jack Sock 7-5, 7-6 (7-3).
The 21-year-old Chung reached the semi-finals of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time at this year’s Australian Open thanks to wins over Zverev and six-time champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia.
But he was forced to retire from his match against eventual champion Roger Federer due to painful blisters.