Zverev struggles past qualifier King

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[August 29, 2017]  By Rory Carroll

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Alexander Zverev battled into the early hours of Tuesday to defeat a surprisingly troublesome Darian King 7-6(9) 7-5 6-4 at the U.S. Open.

The fourth-seeded German got all he could handle in the first set from the little-known 25-year-old, who made it through qualifiers to become the first player from Barbados to compete in a grand slam.

Dressed in knee-high socks and striped headband that recalled a 1970's-era Bjorn Borg, Zverev looked out of synch early in the match, the booming serve that helped bring him five titles this year lacking its usual punch.

The German was uncharacteristically wasteful in a one hour, 21 minute first set, committing 31 unforced errors, before going on to draw first blood.

"Obviously Darian came out playing really good tennis and I couldn't find my rhythm," he said on court after he finished the nearly three hour match with an overhead smash.

"It was an entertaining first set."

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Alexander Zverev of Germany hits a backhand against Darian King of Barbados (not pictured) on day one of the U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Next up for Zverev is fellow 20-year-old Borna Coric of Croatia.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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