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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday September 6, 2020

Alexander Zverev

Germany's Alexander Zverev has yet to drop a set through four round at this year's US Open.

Photo Source: Getty

When the US Open draw was released last week, everybody circled a potential semifinal between Novak Djokovic – he of the 24 consecutive Grand Slam wins – and Alexander Zverev. The German, in the midst of a purple patch, had just claimed Olympic gold in Tokyo and the Cincinnati Masters title, and he was looking like one of the few ATP players that could ruffle Djokovic’s feathers.

Tennis Express

After Monday’s 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(7) victory over Italy’s Jannik Sinner, it seems plausible. Zverev has stretched his winning streak to 15, and perhaps most important, he is finding his way through matches efficiently at this year’s Open. He has only spent seven hours and 17 minutes on court through four rounds, which means he’ll have plenty of energy for his quarterfinal match against South Africa’s Lloyd Harris and, if all goes well, his showdown with Djokovic.

Zverev has been a ruthless server through four rounds, surrendering just two breaks of serve and ripping 62 aces. Even though he won a significantly lower total of first-serve points (73 percent) than his tournament average (82 percent) he was clutch when he needed to be, especially late in the third set.

“In Tokyo, all of a sudden it clicked, because in Wimbledon I had a very bad serving match against Felix,” Zverev said of his serving prowess. “That was the reason I lost. Yeah, since Tokyo it's been a lot better, but it can still be a lot better, as well. As I said as well, the serve is the shot I spend the most time on, it's the shot I practice the most as well. I am someone that needs that repetition, and I feel like the hard work maybe starts coming along.”

Zverev’s next opponent has been even better on serve through four rounds. Harris has 87 aces and has won 83 percent of his first serve points during the tournament. He is into his first major quarterfinal after notching wins over Karen Khachanov (R1), Denis Shapovalov (R3) and Reilly Opelka (Round of 16).

He trails the head-to-head with Zverev 2-0, however.

“I think he's somebody that is improving a lot this year,” Zverev said of Harris. “I think, I have said that to someone, I don't remember who it was, in the locker room. I said, like, I feel Lloyd has been winning two, three matches every single week, doesn't matter where he's playing. He's showing the high level here again.”

Zverev might benefit from his second-serve, which has been stronger than Harris’ statistically in New York and, of course, his confidence. It could be the key to their third showdown.

“I think the Novak match gave me a lot, because I was down and out basically from the match,” Zverev said. “Coming back against the World No. 1 the way I did and I won what, 10 out of 11 games, then after being a break down in the second set, that did give me something.

“I'm hoping to use it and continue using it here.”


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