Nigerian-born Michael Mmoh has zoomed into the third round of the 2023 Australian Open.
The 25-year-old is the son of a former Nigerian tennis player Tony Mmoh. He beat the struggling former world number two Alexander Zverev 6-7 (1/7), 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 on Margaret Court Arena.
The German 12th seed, who was a semi-finalist in Melbourne in 2020, admitted that the loss to 107th-ranked American is a further indication he still had a long road to travel on his injury recovery.
Thursday’s defeat followed two defeats at the recent United Cup, Zverev’s first ATP matches since tearing ankle ligaments at the French Open in June.
A planned return at the Davis Cup in September failed to materialise when the 25-year-old pulled out after experiencing “extreme pain”.
‘ A Long Way To Go’
The two-time ATP Finals champion, who has dropped to 13 in the world, was clearly still struggling against the American Mmoh, hitting 58 unforced errors and having his serve broken eight times.
“I didn’t have any expectations. I didn’t have any goals, and it was a good test for me,” he said of being at the opening Grand Slam of the year.
“I played a five-setter (in the first round), and I know where I am physically. That’s about it. I guess I still have a long way back to where I was.”
Asked if his ankle was still troubling him, he replied that it was not.
“My foot is healthy, but I’m not at the physical level that I was. I’m not as fast,” he said.
“Definitely my conditioning is not as good as it was. So, I think I still have a long way to go to there … I think the last weeks I was getting better and better, and that is something very positive for me.”
Mmoh will play countryman J.J Wolf next, after he beat Argentina’s 23rd-seeded Diego Schwartzman in three sets.
“Wow, this is the biggest win of my career without a doubt,” said Mmoh. “Life is crazy, this is insane.”