The big goal is only two steps away: Alexander Zverev is in the semi-finals of the French Open for the first time and can dream of the long-awaited Grand Slam title – but has to improve.
A long way off from the best form, the German number one defeated the Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in a long weak match 6: 4, 6: 1, 6: 1 and reached the round of the last four in a major tournament for the third time.
From a German point of view, only Boris Becker (18), Michael Stich (6) and Tommy Haas (4) had played semi-finals more often in one of the four most important tennis tournaments. “It’s very nice to be in the semifinals, but that doesn’t make me happy,” said the Hamburg Zverev: “Maybe I can play better in the semifinals and I’m excited to see what will be possible for me.”
In the fight for his second Grand Slam final after the US Open last year, Zverev now has to jump a hurdle that has always been too high for him. The Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas (No. 5) is waiting on Friday, who knocked out Daniil Medvedev (Russia), second in the world rankings, 6: 3, 7: 6 (7: 3), 7: 5. Zverev has lost all of his nine duels with top 10 players in Grand Slam tournaments.
Game on a weak level right from the start
On Tuesday evening, the world number six first asked patience. Since the Slovenian Tamara Zidansek and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova from Russia made their first Grand Slam semi-finals clear on the Philippe Chatrier Court in three-set victories, his match only started around two hours late.
When the 24-year-old was finally allowed to go to the center court, he didn’t get off to a good start. Zverev looked dissatisfied with his racket stringing, hardly brought first serves into the field, acted too passively and then quarreled with the referee. But also Davidovich Fokina started bumpy, it developed into a muddled match on a weak level with many breaks. Since Zverev made a little fewer mistakes, he secured the first set after 47 minutes.
Krawietz eliminated in doubles
“Tonight nobody will be interested in how high the level was – only who wins,” said “Eurosport” expert Becker and saw how Zverev improved slightly in the second set. This time he held an early break to make it 3-1, the Spaniard nothing else came together. In the first two rounds, every second point Zverevs (30 of 60) resulted from unforced mistakes by his counterpart.
Zverev went into the game with great respect for Davidovich Fokina (“He can do magic”), but also had fond memories of the Spaniard. In the last 16 duel of the US Open, Davidovich Fokina won just five games, and Zverev then stormed into the final. He also wants to go there in Paris – at least he saved strength in the quarter-finals. In the third set he also took the lead again with a break, then had everything under control and ended the match after 1:36 hours.
On the other hand, doubles specialist Kevin Krawietz had to pack his bags, the dream of the third French Open title in a row has burst. At the side of the Romanian Horia Tecau, the Coburg narrowly failed in the quarterfinals. This year, Krawietz had to do without his usual partner Andreas Mies, who had been operated on on his knee in February.