Rightly criticised for his failure to perform at slams, Alexander Zverev has been going some way to silencing the doubters this tournament with two battling performances on his way to the fourth round of the draw. He plays Karen Khachanov in an attempt to earn his first quarter final, where a potential blockbuster with Dominic Thiem awaits.
Zverev may not have been dominant in the last two rounds but he showed major heart to finally oust Damir Dzumhur in five sets. The Bosnian held a whole host of leads throughout the match including serving for it at 6-5 in the fourth set and holding a match point at 5-4 in the fifth. Zverev would take control after the hold for 5-5, winning the final two games to close out a 6-2 3-6 4-6 7-6 7-5 win. “I think it was important to see for myself that I can win back-to-back five-set matches and both very difficult physical matches,” said Zverev. “I was feeling fine physically, so for me that gives me a lot of confidence going deep into the fifth set, and long matches on this kind of surface… gives me a lot of confidence.”
Khachanov was another of the highly touted next gen stars alongside Zverev but with the German leaving the rest for dead, there has been little excitement over the Russian. Khachanov is in the fourth round of the French for the second year running after extinguishing the hopes of home favourite Lucas Pouille. He controlled the match throughout, winning in straight sets.
Khachanov may also not be so forgiving from a winning position given his strong serving performances so far this fortnight. However, Zverev’s admission that he is feeling well physically gives hope that he doesn’t flame out in the second week although a quicker win here would do a lot for his chances, especially with a possible route to the title of Thiem, Djokovic and Nadal.
Prediction – Alexander Zverev in four sets