Zverev Survives Bautista Agut In Halle QFs
Fourth seed Alexander Zverev held off an inspired challenge from seventh seed Roberto Bautista Agut on Friday in Halle, delighting the home crowd by reaching the semi-finals of the Gerry Weber Open with a 6-7(6), 7-6(1), 6-1 win.
"I started being more aggressive and tried to go for shots more if you rally with him on the baseline especially on grass because the shots are so flat it’s very difficult.," said Zverev. "I just wanted to be more aggressive, try more things.
"It felt like I was better than him the whole second set. I had more chances than him on his serve. And I looked at the stats: I only lost three points on my serve in total in the second set. That was very important to feel very comfortable going into the tie-break."
Zverev evened his FedEx ATP Head2Head record with Bautista Agut at 2-2 and has won their past two matches, including another victory on home soil last month in Munich. He improved to 8-2 in Halle and 5-2 in ATP World Tour quarter-finals this season.
The #NextGenATP player also moved closer to a Halle rematch with Roger Federer. Zverev defeated the Swiss star in a three-set semi-final last year before falling to Florian Mayer in the title match. Zverev and Federer are even in their FedEx ATP Head2Head at 1-1.
But first, the German will need to get past Richard Gasquet, a winner earlier in the day over Robin Haase. Zverev won his lone FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting against Gasquet this February in the Montpellier final.
"I think he’s very different than Bautista Agut," said Zverev. "I think his shots are much more with top spin. Maybe he plays a little bit further back but has a little more fire power. But it’s going to be another tough match. Hopefully, I’ll be ready tomorrow."
Both Bautista Agut and Zverev traded service holds throughout the first set to force a tie-break. Zverev held a set point at 6/5, but the Spaniard erased it with a delicate backhand drop volley winner. Bautista Agut continued to charge the net, knocking off a forehand volley winner at 7/6 to take the early advantage.
They continued to trade service holds throughout the second set, but Zverev came alive in the tie-break. A flood of winners, including one off his forehand at 6/1, brought the match to a decider.
The final set was one-way traffic for Zverev, with the fourth seed reeling off six consecutive games to advance in two hours and 12 minutes. He finished the match with 19 aces and denied Bautista Agut any break point chances. Zverev was equally impressive from the baseline, hitting 49 winners to 37 unforced errors.