In playing down his chances of defending the title, Roger Federer specifically named the usual suspects in Nadal and Djokovic as well as Alexander Zverev when it came to contenders for who could take his title from him. While World No.4, Zverev has failed to live up to lofty expectations at the slams and his round three match could see another early exit if Hyeon Chung is at the top of his game.
Chung is already 1-0 against the Zverev family at this tournament, having led 6-2 4-1 before Mischa called it a day in round one. He hit 39 winners in his second round win against Medvedev, beating the Russian 7-6 6-1 6-1 to make it this far. Even after winning the inaugural Next Gen Finals, there doesn’t seem to be the same level of hype around Chung that many of the other top young stars have. The Korean is currently ranked outside the top 50 and will need a few more wins here to crack it once again.
Zverev’s 25 aces helped him out in victory over Peter Gojowczyk in round two, winning 6-1 6-3 4-6 6-3. It gets much tougher from hereon in for him as he looks to improve on his poor slam record. He has just one round 4 to his name over the past 2 years and was a round 2 loser at the US Open to end last year. ” I think I played a pretty good match. I think the first two sets were very, very good. I think the third set I played maybe a little bit shorter, maybe a little bit more passive. I don’t think I played a very good set. I just feel like Peter played an amazing 25 minutes of tennis, then the set was gone.” he said post match.
With Novak Djokovic likely awaiting in round 4 should he make it there, it will be a tough ask for Zverev to get his career best run here. He will however be confident should they meet, having beat the Serbian last year on the way to the Rome Masters title. He must look to Chung first though, with the Korean leading the head to head 1-0 over him. He outplayed the German last year in Barcelona, winning 1 and 4 early in the tournament.
Prediction – Alexander Zverev in 5 sets