Zverev Makes Personal History At US Open
Zverev, who needed five sets in his first two rounds here, battled past Slovenian Aljaz Bedene 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-3, 7-6(3) to reach the fourth round of the US Open for the first time. The 11-time ATP Tour titlist has made the Round of 16 or better at three of the four Grand Slams this season, also doing so at the Australian Open (R16) and Roland Garros (QF). The sixth seed is still on track for a potential quarter-final showdown with second seed Rafael Nadal.
"it's the first time in the second week [of the US Open]. Obviously it's a fourth round. I don't really want to stop here. I want to keep going," Zverev said. "I want to keep improving my game. It doesn't get easier, the opponents don't get easier, the matches don't get easier. We'll see how it goes, but I'm happy for now."
This was the pair’s fourth FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting, and it was also the most difficult for Zverev. In Melbourne this January, Zverev needed only one hour and 55 minutes against Bedene, breaking serve six times.
And it seemed it would be more of the same on Louis Armstrong Stadium on Saturday, when Zverev broke immediately and took a 5-2 lead. But the No. 6 seed was unable to close out the opener, leading to a tough battle against the World No. 80, who was pursuing his first fourth-round showing at a major.
Zverev maintained his composure to event the match at a set apiece after playing a clean second-set tie-break, and a key moment came with the German serving at 2-0 in the third set. The 22-year-old had already let slip a break advantage in the first set. And when he fell behind 15/40, Zverev appeared to be in danger of doing so again.
But Bedene missed a forehand long and Zverev crushed a booming ace out wide to wipe away those chances and consolidate his break, eventually taking the 40-minute set.
Zverev neared the finish line when he broke for a 3-2 lead in the fourth set. Although the Slovenian dug deep to get back on serve, Zverev won six of the last seven points in the tie-break to advance in three hours and 35 minutes.
"I think [it was a] very high-level match. He played very aggressive, very well, very fast as well," Zverev said. "Sometimes I didn't really have chances on his serve. Playing three tie-break sets, it could have gone both ways. I'm just happy to be through."
Bedene put forth an admirable effort having entered the match with a 1-19 record against Top 10 opposition (0-6 at Grand Slams). But in the key moments, he was unable to consistently find a crack in Zverev's defences.
Next up for Zverev will be No. 20 seed Diego Schwartzman, who eliminated American Tennys Sandgren 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 after one hour and 55 minutes. The Argentine broke Sandgren's serve five times and saved all four break points he faced, winning an impressive 73 per cent of second-serve return points.
Schwartzman has not lost a set this tournament, and outside of one tie-break in his first-round victory against Robin Haase, this year's Los Cabos champion has not allowed another set to go past 6-4.
Zverev and Schwartzman have split two FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, with the German triumphing more recently at the Rolex Paris Masters last year.
Did You Know?
Zverev, who saved two championships to triumph in Geneva (d. Jarry) has won at least one ATP Tour title in four consecutive years.