Jiri Lehecka equalled the biggest win of his career by Pepperstone ATP Ranking Saturday when he upset World No. 12 Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-2 to give Team Czech Republic a 1-0 lead in its tie against Team Germany at the United Cup.
The 21-year-old was pumped up throughout the one-hour, 34-minute clash on Ken Rosewall Arena, producing a clean-hitting display to outlast Zverev in the baseline exchanges. The World No. 81 broke four times and looked sharp at the net, consistently moving forward effectively to finish points.
The 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals runner-up Lehecka, who also defeated then-World No. 12 Denis Shapovalov en route to the semi-finals in Rotterdam last season, lost against Taylor Fritz in his opening match of the season earlier this week.
However, he has given his nation the perfect start to its tie against Germany as it looks to bounce back from its Group C tie defeat against Team United States. Marie Bouzkova will look to double her nation’s lead when she faces Jule Niemeier in the second match of Day 3 in Sydney.
Zverev was competing for the first time since June when he tore three ligaments in his right ankle during his Roland Garros semi-final clash against Rafael Nadal. The two-time Nitto ATP Finals champion showed glimpses of his best in his first ATP Head2Head meeting against Lehecka, but was unable to sustain it for prolonged periods, misfiring on his forehand in the crucial moments.