He played poorly but won: Alexander Zverev reached the quarter-finals of the French Open. But if the Olympic champion in Paris really wants to play for the title this year, he will have to improve dramatically.
In the case of Sunday, when he beat Spanish qualifier Bernabé Zapata Miralles 7:6 (13:11), 7:5, 6:3 in the round of 16, he will have no chance in the next hot matches. Championship stage. Especially when it comes to tennis prodigy Carlos Alcaraz of Spain on Tuesday who beat Russia’s Karen Khachanov 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 late on Sunday night.
Only partially satisfied
“I know I have to get better when it comes to Carlos,” Zverev said. “He’s the best tennis player in the world right now,” Zverev said. “That’s one of the reasons why he’s always scheduled here at the tournament in the evenings at prime time.” He was only partially satisfied with his performance against Zapata Miralles. “I had some difficulty concentrating. Of course, that shouldn’t happen to me against Carlos,” said Zverev, who also experienced cold weather in the French capital. His serve and forehand were lacking in speed.
He praised his opponent. “I think he played the best tennis of his life,” Zverev said after the match. He himself was miles away from it. Zverev got off to a good start at Susan Lenglin Court. The German #1 looked focused and quickly fell back to 4:1 with two breaks. But then Zverev thought he was already sure of entering the quarter-finals. Unfocused and slow, he made sure the limited but self-sacrificing Spaniard found his way back into the game.
In the tiebreak, Zverev had to make three set-pieces, even Zapata Mirales squandered a potential set win with a double-fault. Zverev took the first set after 64 minutes of the fourth set.
But this did not give Zverev any security either, the correct focus on the game was not there. Zapata Mirales managed a quick breather and controlled the movement for a while. Although Zverev re-fractured to 2:2, he immediately rebooted himself. By the end of the second section, Zverev’s statistics had already shown 51 avoidable errors.
Djokovic at his best
The fact that he still won the set after more than two hours of playing was because Zapata Miralles was scared of his guts at the crucial moments. In the third group, the strength of the outside person also diminished. Zverev didn’t play well, but used his first match point after 2:45 hours.
On the other hand, Novak Djokovic is still at his best. The world number one from Serbia won in the round of 16 against Argentine Diego Schwartzman 6:1, 6:3, 6:3 and showed a convincing performance. The 35-year-old, who missed the Australian Open at the start of the year after a lot of dips due to missing out on the coronavirus vaccine, played with great focus and didn’t allow himself any weakness. “I’m very happy with my performance. But it’s not over yet,” said Djokovic, who is seeking his 21st Grand Slam title in Paris. He was on a par with Nadal.
In the quarter-finals, there is now a classic tennis game between Djokovic and Nadal. The 13-time Paris champion of Spain beat Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in the best match of the tournament so far and ended early with his favorite victory. Tournament with great difficulty. After the match, Nadal was celebrated on Court Philippe Chatrier as if he had won the French Open for the 14th time. (dpa)