Zverev Earns Comeback Win, Humbert Upsets Rublev In Beijing
For the second straight match at the China Open, Alexander Zverev recovered from losing an opening-set tie-break to win. After doing so against Diego Schwartzman in the Beijing first round, Zverev repeated the feat Saturday in a 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-1 result against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina to reach his 10th quarter-final of the season.
After losing a marathon opening set that included six breaks of serve, Zverev saved the only break point against him in a dominant final two sets.
"I'm happy with the win," Zverev said after a post-2:30 a.m. finish. "I feel like I picked up my game a lot. I played a lot of tennis the past two weeks... I just need to recover, I need to rest."
The German, who returned to the Top 10 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time since 2022 following his US Open quarter-final run, is in seventh place in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin. He could rise to fifth in the Race by winning his third title of the season in Beijing.
"I have a lot to play for, and that's what I'm focussing on," Zverev said of his busy late-season schedule, one week after he lifted the trophy in Chengdu.
The victory improved Zverev to 4-1 in his Lexus ATPHead2Head against Davidovich Fokina, avenging a lopsided August defeat in Toronto. The German will next meet Chile's Nicolas Jarry — who knocked out Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first round — in the quarters at the ATP 500.
Ugo Humbert earned his first Top 10 win in more than a year with a dramatic victory against Andrey Rublev earlier on Saturday night. In the second round, the Frenchman pulled out a 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(3) victory against the fifth seed, improving his career record to 8-8 against Top 10 opponents.
In an eventful match that saw 10 breaks of serve evenly split, Humbert denied Rublev's attempt to serve out a win at 5-3 in the final set and leaned on his rock-solid baseline game to close out the victory in a one-sided tie-break.
"I was really focussed from the beginning of the second set and the level was high," Humbert said after two hours, 48 minutes on court. "It's not easy against him because he plays very fast. I'm very proud that I did it."
Humbert improved to 8-8 against the Top 10 and 1-3 this season, with his most recent such victory coming against Casper Ruud last year at Wimbledon. He will have a chance for another Top 10 win in the quarter-finals when he takes on World No. 3 Daniil Medvedev, against whom he holds a 2-0 Lexus ATP Head2Head edge.
The 25-year-old Humbert reached a career-high of World No. 25 in 2021, but was outside the Top 100 for much of the 2022 season and as recently as this January. His quarter-final run in Beijing has lifted him two places to No. 34 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.
"I was outside the Top 100 last year. I feel I played very well the last few weeks in Davis Cup, here," he assessed. "I'm very happy to win against [Rublev]."
Rublev was seeking his 10th quarter-final of the season. Despite the defeat, he remains comfortably inside the top eight places in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin at fifth.