Sunday kicks off with Alaves starting their centenary season at home to Betis in another game which had its kick-off changed late on Wednesday night. The match was due to start at 9 pm on Monday but has been brought forward to 14:00 on Sunday in a move which will have ruined the final preparations of coaches Pablo Machin and Manuel Pellegrini, both of whom are debuting with their respective clubs.
He has also been capped 36 times for the Italian national team.
As the match moved deep into the fifth set, it became more about mental fortitude than technical skill. Zverev fought through nerves by moving forward and was rewarded by breaking Thiem at 4-3 with an aggressive forehand.
Both sides struggled to avoid relegation last season and neither look stronger after a summer in which Eibar have lost players such as Fabian Orellana, De Blasis and Gorka Escalante while Rafinha, Jeison Murillo, Fiodor Smolov and Pione Sisto have all left Celta.
Meanwhile, playing in front of empty stands (for the opening months of the campaign at least) once again promises to make a mockery of home advantage and make games much harder to predict.
"It took a lot of mind setting to keep being motivated this year because so many people are staying at home but you have to stay motivated. I pushed myself, I had the right staff with me, the right coach," he said. "I'm also usually based in Europe, but being based in Uganda with my family was actually great."
The other promoted sides Huesca and Cadiz will also struggle, with Cadiz likely to miss their fans in the Ramon de Caranza Stadium, while Eibar and Alaves might also find life hard after flirting with danger last season. Eibar have lost plyers such as Orellana, Escalante and Di Blasis, while Alaves, who celebrate their centenary this season, will hope a forward line of Joselu, Lucas Perez and Deyverson should have the goals to keep them in the top flight. Enditem
Zhejiang then leveled again by a straight-set win in the women's singles, before Zheng Siwei/Huang Dongping took the decisive point for Qingdao after sweeping Dong Weijie/Lv Rouhao in just 15 minutes.
The 35-year-old joined the Greek club last month after exercising a clause in his Flamengo contract that allowed him to return to Europe on a free transfer.
Teda's Liu Ruofan had the ball into the net in the 62nd minute but it was wiped out as Liu had fouled in the build-up.
The world volleyball governing body FIVB released the schedule of the VNL 2021 early this month, and Brazil will start their campaign at home by hosting the United States, Canada and the Dominican Republic in Cuiaba before the second week in Brasilia, and they will conclude the final week in Seoul, South Korea after travels to China and Poland.