Paris, Jun 8 (EFE).- Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas have been in sublime form at this year’s French Open and on Tuesday they booked their places in the tournament’s semifinal stage.
Two days after ruthlessly brushing aside Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the round of 16 with the loss of just six games, the German world No. 6 dominated Alejandro Davidovich Fokina by the identical score of 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 in quarterfinal action on Court Philippe-Chatrier.
While the 1.98-meter (6-foot-6) Zverev has always been one of tennis’ best servers, he has taken his return game to a higher level at this year’s Roland Garros and showed that improvement once again against his Spanish opponent.
Zverev lost his serve three times in a sloppy opening set and also had an apparent break of Davidovich’s serve overturned by what he perceived was an incorrect decision by the chair umpire.
But solid returning proved to be the difference in the opener for Zverev, who twice rallied from deficits on the scoreboard and wrapped up the set by breaking serve for the fourth time in the 10th game.
It was then all downhill from there for Davidovich Fokina, who continued to struggle on serve and did not create a single break point in the last two sets.
The 22-year-old Spaniard also was evidently running on fumes after reaching the second week of a Grand Slam event for the first time in his career, while a back problem contributed to his woeful serving day.
The 24-year-old Zverev, the 2020 US Open runner-up and 2021 Australian Open quarterfinalist, reflected afterward on his improved results at Grand Slam events in recent months.
“The Grand Slams are the tournaments that we want to win the most. Before maybe the past few years, I was putting too much pressure on myself,” Zverev said. “I was not very patient with myself, which I feel like now maybe I learned how to deal with the situation a little bit better. I’m maybe a little bit calmer at the tournaments. But the end goal hasn’t changed.”
The German has won 15 consecutive sets since facing a two-set deficit in his first round match against 152nd-ranked German qualifer Oscar Otte.
But against the 22-year-old Tsitsipas he will be facing an opponent at the height of his powers.
The Greek world No. 5 was sharp through his first four matches but turned it up another notch in taking out Russian world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 7-6 (7-3), 7-5 on Tuesday night.
Tsitsipas won all but two of his service games, rebounded quickly after squandering a service-break lead in the second set and effectively neutralized his opponent’s big first serve.
The Greek player capitalized from the outset on the greater margin of error on his shots against the flat-hitting Medvedev, breaking serve in the fourth game and not facing a single break point in the first set.
He also went up an early break in the second set, although Medvedev reeled off three straight games to take a 4-3 lead and then held two set points with his opponent serving at 4-5.
Tsitsipas, however, got out of that jam and then rolled through the tiebreaker to take a commanding two-set-to-love lead.
Medvedev continued to look for solutions and took the lead in the third set with a service break in the fifth game, but Tsitsipas’ superiority shone through down the stretch with service breaks in the eighth and 12th games.
The set appeared headed for a tiebreaker with the Russian serving at 5-6, 40-0, but Tsitsipas won five straight points to clinch the victory.
Medvedev showed his frustration on match point when he attempted a bizarre underhanded serve-and-volley play that backfired badly when Tsitsipas fired a backhand passing shot winner.
“I’m playing good, and I think if I keep repeating the process, keep repeating the everyday hustle that I put, for sure there’s going to be a reward. And why not?” Tsitsipas said after advancing to the French Open semifinals for the second straight year.