Zverev Races Into First Roland Garros Semi-final
The sixth-seeded German had his serve broken three times in the opening set before he settled to overcome Davidovich Fokina 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 in one hour and 36 minutes on Court Philippe-Chatrier.
"It's very nice being in the semi-final, but just being here doesn't satisfy me," said Zverev, in an on-court interview. "I hope I can continue to play the same, maybe even better in the semi-finals."
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"After the first set, my baseline game improved a lot and I started to dominate the points," said Zverev. "At the beginning, I don't think I played that well. [Davidovich Fokina] has improved a lot over the past 18 months and has climbed up the [FedEx ATP Rankings]. I think I will play him a lot in the future."
The 24-year-old will next look to beat second-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev or fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece on Friday. Medvedev holds a three-match winning streak against the German in their ATP Head2Head series (Zverev 5-4), while Zverev beat Tsitsipas, who leads their series 5-2, in this year's Acapulco final in straight sets.
For a short time, Davidovich Fokina used his drop shot with great disguise to keep Zverev continually on the move up the court. The Spaniard broke serve in the first game, but Zverev’s greater weight of shot reaped dividends and from 3-3 appeared to be in control.
Although Davidovich Fokina broke Zverev at 5-3, his fitness started to falter and he appeared to be a shadow of the player who beat Norwegian 15th seed Casper Ruud in five sets or Federico Delbonis of Argentina.
Zverev wrapped up the 46-minute opener, which featured seven breaks of serve, when Davidovich Fokina struck a backhand into the net. The sixth seed then raced through the second set in 22 minutes with two breaks of serve and from 1-1 in the second set, Zverev won 11 of the last 12 games.
Zverev completed the pair's second meeting with a backhand winner down the line. The German won 26 of 34 first-service points, struck 24 winners and committed just 16 unforced errors.
Davidovich Fokina, who had spent 13 hours and 10 minutes on court in his four matches at Roland Garros, was bidding to beat a Top 10 player for the second time in his career. Two months ago, the 22-year-old Spaniard beat Matteo Berrettini in the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters second round. He is now 19-11 on the season.
Editor's Note: This story was edited to reflect that Zverev did not beat Tsitsipas in this year's Madrid final, but in the Acapulco final. Zverev defeated Matteo Berrettini for the Madrid trophy.