Zverev Wins Third Straight Five-Setter, Into Maiden Slam QF
The 21-year-old won his third consecutive five-set match to defeat the World No. 38 and become the youngest Roland Garros quarter-finalist since Juan Martin del Potro (20) in 2009. Zverev also came from two sets to one down to beat Dusan Lajovic in the second round and recovered from a two-set deficit, saving match point, to beat Damir Dzumhur in the third round.
"I'm very happy about being in the quarter-finals here, going the hard way, going long distance every single time and showing myself, showing everybody, that I can play for as long as I need to," said Zverev.
Zverev fired 63 winners, including 17 aces, to become the seventh German man in the Open Era to reach the last eight at Roland Garros. The German has now won 34 tour-level matches this season (34-8), one more than his nearest rival; Dominic Thiem (33). In his three most recent tournaments before arriving in Paris, Zverev won back-to-back titles at the BMW Open by FWU and the Mutua Madrid Open before falling to Rafael Nadal in the Internazionali BNL d'Italia final.
The World No. 3 will meet Thiem for the seventh time at tour-level, for a place in the semi-finals. Zverev trails Thiem 2-4 in FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, but won their most recent encounter in May's Mutua Madrid Open final.
After trading breaks in the opening two games, Khachanov pounced in the 10th game to clinch the first set. The Russian missed out on two set points at 4-5 (15/40) on Zverev's serve, but converted his third as he moved up the court before forcing an error from his opponent.
Zverev responded well in the second set, breaking to love at 3-3, but was forced into a tie-break after failing to serve the set out with three set points at 5-4.
After dropping the second set in the tie-break, Khachanov quickly re-established his one-set lead with a dominant third-set performance. Khachanov broke in the third and fifth games, and won 86 per cent of points on his second serve to move one set away from a landmark victory.
For the third consecutive match, Zverev knew that he would need to win in five sets to stay alive in the tournament, and he gave himself a lifeline with a break of serve in the sixth game. After saving two break points at 2-2 (15/40), the German capitalised on back-to-back errors from Khachanov to take a 4-2 lead, before taking the match into a fifth set, with his 14th ace, three games later.
"I started playing much better in the fourth and fifth set," said Zverev. "[At the] beginning of the fourth set I thought, okay, I can turn this match around, especially when I saved a few break points."
Zverev secured an immediate lead in the fifth set, winning consecutive points off his backhand wing to break for 1-0. The German No. 1 maintained that advantage throughout the set, before clinching his place in the quarter-finals with his fifth service break of the match.
"I didn't win it today, but it's a positive sign," reflected Khachanov. "So hopefully next time I will win it... Match by match, I was playing better and better, and that shows that I increased [my] level. So with this [aspect], I'm really happy."