Olympic tennis champion Alexander Zverev achieved a confident success at the start of preparation for the French Open. In his adopted home of Monte-Carlo, the 26-year-old from Hamburg reached the round of 16 with a 6:3, 6:4 win against the Austrian Sebastian Ofner. After 1:18 hours, Zverev secured victory in his first clay court match this year.

For the fifth in the world rankings, it was the fourth success in the fourth meeting with Ofner. Zverev suffered his only loss of serve when he served to win the match when the score was 5:2 in the second set and allowed Ofner to come close again.

In the round of the top eight of the Masters 1000 tournament, Zverev will face the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas or the Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry, who will face each other on Wednesday. In the first round, Zverev, like top seed Novak Djokovic, had a bye.

Djokovic gives Safiullin no chance

The world number one Djokovic returned impressively after his short break and foregoing the Masters tournament in Miami and gave the Russian Roman Safiullin no chance at 6:1, 6:2. Djokovic last failed surprisingly early in the third round in Indian Wells in mid-March. The record Grand Slam tournament winner then decided not to take part in Miami, citing the fact that he was balancing his professional and private schedule at this point in his career.

The start of the clay court season has been delayed for Spanish tennis star Carlos Alcaraz. The 20-year-old had to cancel at short notice for Monte-Carlo, as he wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “I tried until the last minute to recover from an injury to my right arm, but it was not possible,” wrote Alcaraz, who would have played against Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime after a bye in the opener.

The French Open, the sporting highlight of the clay court season and the second Grand Slam tournament of the year, begins in Paris at the end of May.