Zverev's Olympic title run has brought more than gold
New York (AFP) –
Since rallying to defeat top-ranked Novak Djokovic on his way to winning the Tokyo Olympics, Alexander Zverev has taken his game to another level at the US Open.
The 24-year-old German fourth seed advanced to his seventh Grand Slam quarter-final, and fourth in the past five Slams, by dispatching Italian 13th seed Jannik Sinner 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (9/7) on Monday.
Zverev is on a career-best 15-match win streak after Olympic and Cincinnati titles, but his fightback from a set and a break down to defeat Djokovic in Tokyo -- denying him a chance for a Golden Slam -- has provided a boost that continues into New York.
"The Novak match gave me a lot, because I was down and out basically from the match," he said. "Coming back against the world number one the way I did, and I won what, 10 out of 11 games 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."
Zverev said he has a new confidence to go for difficult shots in key moments.
"It has built over time to do it in the most important moments," Zverev said. "To hit those kind of balls in the important moments, I think that's probably matches, that's a lot of tournaments and all that.
"In Tokyo, all of a sudden it clicked, because in Wimbledon I had a very bad serving match against Felix (Auger-Aliassime of Canada). 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."
Zverev finds himself not second-guessing his quick decisions on the court.
"I think definitely it's the reason why maybe the big shots in the important moments, they seem more natural and you're not maybe thinking about it twice like you would in maybe some other situations," Zverev said.
"I'm happy where I am, I'm happy with how things are, and I'm happy with how things were the last few months."
Next up for Zverev will be South Africa's 46th-ranked Lloyd Harris, a first time Slam quarter-finalist.
"He's somebody that's improving a lot this year," Zverev said. "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.
"He's playing incredible and he's also serving incredible. In Cincinnati, I was struggling a lot to return his serve in the first set. It's gonna be a tough one, definitely."
© 2021 AFP