New York, Sep 6 (EFE).- German world No. 4 Alexander Zverev continued his impressive march through the US Open draw and the summer hard-court season, earning a 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (9-7) round-of-16 victory here Monday afternoon over Italian rising star Jannik Sinner.
Zverev was in complete control of the match through the first two and a half sets, using his huge weapon on the first serve, rock-solid ground strokes and underrated defense to keep his nose in front.
The stats told the tale as the 24-year-old German dominated his service games in the first two sets to the tune of a 72 percent win rate on first serves and a whopping 64 percent clip on second-serve points.
The momentum started to shift, however, late in the third set, with the 20-year-old Italian earning his first break of the match to level that set at 4-4 and starting to dictate the rallies with his fearsome ground strokes.
Sinner then had a golden chance to claim the third set in the tiebreaker, but he committed one costly forehand unforced error wide of the sideline when serving at 6-5 and then another in the net when down match point.
Zverev’s serve was the big difference in a contest in which the players were fairly evenly matched from the baseline, with the German racking up 17 aces to Sinner’s five and getting broken two fewer times than his opponent (one compared to three).
“Players with confidence who have played a lot of matches usually know what to do in these situations,” Zverev, who last month won gold at the Tokyo Games and captured the Cincinnati Masters title and now is on a 15-match winning streak, said in a post-match interview.
“I think I played pretty good tennis in the second set and the first set as well. I feel like I played one bad game in the whole match and it made it very difficult in the third set, so I’m happy to be through in straights.”
He has been rolling through the draw and thus far has appeared unfazed by domestic abuse allegations leveled against him by a former girlfriend.
The 2020 US Open runner-up will next take on surprise quarterfinalist Lloyd Harris of South Africa, a 6-7 (6-8), 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 winner Monday afternoon over big-serving American Reilly Opelka.
If Zverev wins one more match and Serbian world No. 1 Novak Djokovic also reaches the semifinals, the two would square off in a much-anticipated battle on Friday.
The German denied Djokovic’s bid to become the first men’s player to win a so-called Golden Slam when he rallied to win their semifinal showdown in Tokyo.
But the Serbian can still become the first male player in 52 years (Rod Laver) to win a calendar-year Grand Slam if he captures the title at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in the New York City borough of Queens on Sunday.
In women’s singles round-of-16 action on Monday, 18-year-old British rising star Emma Raducanu routed American Shelby Rogers 6-2, 6-1 and Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic, the reigning Olympic champion and 2019 US Open semifinalist, downed Poland’s Iga Swiatek 7-6 (14-12), 6-3. EFE