Match Report

Zverev falls before flying past Fritz in Rome QFs

German joins former No. 3 Ferrer in slice of history
May 15, 2024
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Alexander Zverev defeats Taylor Fritz at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome. By ATP Staff

Alexander Zverev moved one step closer to claiming his first title of the season Wednesday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, where the third seed overcame an early tumble and outlasted Taylor Fritz in a heavy-hitting quarter-final.

Zverev, the highest seed remaining in Rome, used a dominant serving performance and squeaky-clean baseline play to down the American 6-4, 6-3. Aiming to relive his 2017 title run in Rome, the German struck 20 winners and noticeably lifted the aggression on his forehand wing.

“That’s the shot I either win or lose matches with. That’s how it’s been my entire career,” Zverev said in his on-court interview. “When I’m hitting that shot well, that’s when I win. When I’m not hitting it too well, that’s when I lose. That’s definitely the shot I’ve been working the most on in my career, also my serve obviously.”

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The German suffered a scary tumble in the third game of the match, falling on his stomach when recovering to the middle of the court after hitting a backhand return. Zverev began bleeding from both hands and sought treatment from the physio.

Despite the fall, Zverev earned a break that game (he tumbled while leading 0/30) and never looked back to gain a one-set advantage. The 27-year-old showed no physical concerns throughout the remainder of the one-hour, 30-minute match.

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Zverev was near flawless behind his serve, not facing a break point all night to remain unbroken this tournament. Now 26-9 on the season, Zverev was successful in moving forward against Fritz, converting 11 of his 17 net points, according to Infosys ATP Stats. The Hamburg native noted his strong serving this fortnight is allowing him to play more freely in rallies.

“That’s what gives you the security to take maybe a bit more risk from the baseline. It’s the most important shot for any tennis player," said Zverev, who has fought off all five break points faced across four matches.

Zverev's Wednesday victory at the Foro Italico ties him with former No. 3 David Ferrer for fourth most clay-court ATP Masters 1000 semi-final appearances (9).

Clay-court ATP Masters 1000 semi-final leaders (since the series began in 1990)

Player SFs
Rafael Nadal 37
Novak Djokovic 28
Roger Federer 19
David Ferrer, Alexander Zverev 9

A two-time Nitto ATP Finals champion, Zverev improved to 5-3 in his Lexus ATP Head2Head series with Fritz. Wednesday marked their first encounter on clay, the surface on which Zverev has won seven of his 21 tour-level trophies.

“Taylor has been one of the best players on clay this year. To have a win like that is great for me, especially after the fall," Zverev said. "I still have a little bit of pain, so once the adrenaline settles I’m going to check out tomorrow what it is. But definitely happy with the win.”

Zverev is aiming for his sixth ATP Masters 1000 crown and first at that level since Cincinnati in 2021. The No. 5 in the PIF ATP Rankings next faces No. 29 Alejandro Tabilo, who — like Zverev — is yet to drop a set this tournament, including the Chilean’s second-round upset against six-time champion Novak Djokovic. Friday’s semi-final will be Zverev’s first meeting with Tabilo.

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