Australian Open: Zverev through and makes big bushfire donation pledge | Sports | German football and major international sports news | DW | 21.01.2020

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Australian Open: Zverev through and makes big bushfire donation pledge

Alexander Zverev cruised through at the Australian Open on Tuesday before pledging to donate a substantial fee from every victory to bushfire relief funds. If he wins the whole thing, he'll donate all the prize money.

Despite his immense promise and top tier ranking, Alexander Zverev hasn't always found the first hurdle at a grand slam easy to clear. The German, 22, has lost in round one of all four slams in his short career but had no such trouble in Melbourne, dispatching Italy's Marco Cecchinato 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3.

But more than any of his winners, Zverev drew his biggest round of applause for his words in the post match interview. In it, Zverev pledged $10,000 for every match he wins in Melbourne to the campaign for individuals and communities affected by bush fires that have been ravaging Australia.

The German added that should he claim a first grand slam title, he would donate all his winnings to the cause. "I know I'm not the favorite to win this event but if I win this event I'm going to donate every single cent to the bushfires," Zverev said.

The winner recieves 4.12 million Australian dollars (2.83 million US dollars, €2.55 million) and Zverev will face Egor Gerasimov of Belarus or Norway's Casper Ruud in the second round.

Kerber in command

Zverev's compatriot Angelique Kerber also eased through in straight sets against an Italian opponent on Tuesday, beating qualifier Elisabetta Cocciaretto  6-2 6-2.

Kerber, who turned 32 last Saturday, had a few alarms early on against her hard-hitting young opponent but a run of eight consecutive games straddling the two sets saw her through. 

She too has struggled with early grand slam exits in recent years, falling at the first hurdle in the French Open and US Open in 2019. But she has a favorable draw down under this time round, with Australian wildcard Priscilla Hon, ranked 139 in the world, awaiting in round 2.

mp/mds (AP, Reuters)

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