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By Erik Gudris | Thursday, August 3, 2017

The “big four” or “big five” might not be at the Citi Open this week in Washington D.C. But plentry of the next tier of players that many are watching to breakthrough and win their first major are competing this week at the ATP 500 event.

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One of them is Alexander Zverev who managed to earn a three set 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) win in his second round match against Australia's Jordan Thompson. The fifth seeded German struggled in a match filled with momentum swings before securing his place in the third round.

“I tried to stay calm and composed and just focus on me,” Zverev said afterwards. “He’s played a lot on hard courts and this is my first hard court match since Miami. I’m just happy to be through and get the win.”

Thompson used drop shots and serve and volley to disrupt Zverev early in the match. The Australian ranked No. 75 in the world took the first 6-4.

It wasn’t until Zverev, a semifinalist last year, hit a lunge volley winner of his own midway through the second set that things started to turn in his favor. Zverev won the second set and then jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the decider.

But Zverev lost the plot and allowed Thompson back in the match. Thompson leveled things at 4-all and soon forced a decisive final set tiebreak. A serving contest ensued with Thompson only two points away from the upset win. Zverev won a key extended rally to get to 5-all. A costly double fault from Thompson soon set up match point for Zverev.

With a solid forehand that was just too good, Zverev celebrated the 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) comeback win.

Zverev, who has been picked as a future No.1, knows that his matches will fellow rising stars (including this week’s top seed Dominic Thiem) are watched closely by tennis fans.

“I think apart from the big four playing each other, me against Nick (Kyrgios) or me against Dominic might be one of the biggest matchups in tennis, for the media, for social media, and for tennis fans. I know there’s a lot of talk around it, and a lot of expectations on playing these matches in this draw. But right now, we are where we are, and we have a lot of hard work ahead of us to be where we want to be.”

Zverev was potentially to play No. 10 seed Kyrgios in the next round. But that anticipated matchup was not to be as Kyrgios was one of several suprise upsets on Wednesday.

American Tennys Sandgren will instead next face Zverev. Sandgren advanced 6-3, 3-0 after Kyrgios retired due to a shoulder injury.

Earlier, qualifier and World No. 200 Yuki Bhambri stunned defending champion Gael Monfils 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.

Other winners on the day included American Tommy Paul over No. 7 seed Lucas Pouille 7-6(6), 6-3. Grigor Dimitrov edged past Kyle Edmund in their first ever meeting 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.


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