Zverev storms to Davis Cup win after being cleared of abuse


Alexander Zverev beat three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka in the Davis Cup on Friday as the German star returned to the courts for the first time since being cleared of domestic abuse.

The 25-year-old Zverev swept past Wawrinka 6-4, 6-1 in Trier to bring Germany level with Switzerland after the opening day of their qualifier.

On Tuesday, Zverev was told by the ATP that there was "insufficent evidence" to substantiate allegations of abuse against former girlfriend Olya Sharypova.

Former world number two Zverev had always denied the claims, describing them as "baseless".

On Friday, Wawrinka, who helped his country win the 2014 Davis Cup, was returning to the team competition for the first time in eight years.

Now ranked 135 in the world, he was comfortably beaten for the fifth time in five meetings by Zverev.

Marc-Andrea Huesler had earlier given Switzerland the lead with a 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over Oscar Otte.

The tie continues on Saturday with a doubles and two singles rubbers.

Mackenzie McDonald and Tommy Paul gave the United States a 2-0 lead in their qualifier against Uzbekistan.

McDonald, who knocked Rafael Nadal out of the Australian Open last month, eased past Sergey Fomin 6-4, 6-1 in Tashkent before Tommy Paul, a semi-finalist at the season-opening Grand Slam in Melbourne, defeated Khumoyun Sultanov 6-1, 7-6 (8/6).

"It's been amazing. It's not something you get to do a lot throughout the year," said Davis Cup debutant and 63rd-ranked McDonald.

Despite his lowly ranking of 480, Sultanov opened up a 4-0 lead in the second set over top-20 player Paul before the American's greater experience paid off.

"He picked up his level a ton," admitted Paul. "I felt like I wasn't prepared for it."

Of Saturday's rubbers, he added: "A sweep would be nice -- bring out the broomsticks!"

France, the 10-time champions, were 1-1 against Hungary in Tatabanya.

World number 182 Zsombor Piros stunned 45th-ranked Benjamin Bonzi 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 before Ugo Humbert levelled the qualifier by seeing off Marton Fucsovics 6-3, 6-2.

"It was my first match in the Davis Cup and I was very excited," said 24-year-old Humbert, the world number 86.

"I tried to stay focussed on what I was doing and it went well."

In Stockholm, Sweden opened up a 2-0 lead over Bosnia thanks to a couple of straight sets wins by brothers Mikael and Elias Ymer.

There are 12 ties taking place this weekend with the winners securing places in the group stage in September alongside defending champions Canada, 2022 runners-up Australia and wild cards Italy and Spain.

The eight best teams then go through to the Davis Cup Finals knockout stage in Malaga in November.

The qualifying matches taking place between Friday and Sunday are the first since the International Tennis Federation severed its controversial partnership with investors Kosmos less than five years after a 25-year deal was signed.



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