TennisSection previews the 2023 United Cup as Alexander Zverev takes on Jiri Lehecka in the group stages on Saturday, December 31st, 2022.
After losing their opening tie at the United Cup, Jiri Lehecka and the Czech team know there will be little margin for error when they face Germany. Lehecka, however, has tall order as he draws the short straw of taking on Germany’s top-ranked player in Alexander Zverev. Who will prevail?
Alexander Zverev was on course to give Rafael Nadal his toughest bout at the 2022 French Open, before he horribly injured his ankle midway through their blockbuster semifinal. Zverev was forced to shut down his season entirely and spent the best part of six months recuperating and rehabbing. He has since returned to action, most notably at the exhibition tournaments in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, where he looked scored some very good wins under his belt and secured some much-needed match practice. He will be a key member of this Germany team at the United Cup and will be the overwhelming favorite to get their campaign off to a winning start when he faces Jiri Lehecka.
Jiri Lehecka was tasked to battle USA’s Taylor Fritz in the opening match of the 2023 United Cup. But despite asking a few questions on Fritz’s serve in that match, he was second best for most of the afternoon and was well beaten by the top-ranked American. The Czech Republic eventually lost the tie despite Petra Kvitova’s best efforts to salvage something. Lehecka will now turn his attention to his second singles rubber, one in which he might have a punter’s chance to spring an upset when he battles Alexander Zverev.
Alexander Zverev and Jiri Lehecka have not clashed at any level on tour. Saturday’s match at the United Cup will be their first official meeting. Zverev has looked energized and injury-free since his return. He scored a very good win over Djokovic in Dubai at the World Tennis League and is one of the players who might do a lot of damage at the Australian Open in a couple of weeks’ time. This has been an extremely difficult start to the United Cup campaign for the Czech team and we reckon their agony will continue.
Free Tennis Prediction and Pick: Alexander Zverev in 2 sets.
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