Zverev Roars Back, Secures Thrilling Comeback Win In Hamburg QFs

German to face defending champ Basilashvili next

Reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev rode a roller coaster in front of his home crowd in Hamburg on Friday. And even with his back against the wall, the German’s backhand down the line helped him get off the ride with a smile.

Zverev rallied from a set and a break down to defeat Serbian Filip Krajinovic 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 after two hours and minutes, advancing to the semi-finals of the Hamburg European Open.

"The crowd helped me. The crowd gave me energy. The crowd got me through that one," Zverev said. "I didn’t break him one time before the 5-3 game in the second set and it’s all for the city, it’s all for the crowd, and I’m happy to be through."

Krajinovic was on the verge of earning his second Top 10 triumph when he served for the match at 6-2, 5-3, but the home favourite never relented despite the scoreline. Zverev earned three break points in that game. But even after curling a forehand into the net on his first chance and failing to get out of the way of a body serve on his second, Zverev finally broke through with a backhand down the line winner, letting out a massive roar.

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From there, Zverev showed some of his best tennis, consistently biding his time until he could unleash his backhand down the line on key points. That is how he broke to gain the advantage in the second set, and it also proved key in the decider.

Although Krajinovic battled hard after falling behind an immediate break in the third set, getting back on serve, Zverev rifled yet another backhand down the line winner on the full stretch to retake the lead, and he never looked back from there. The second seed won 91 per cent of his first-serve points in the decider to move on to play defending champion Nikoloz Basilashvili in the semi-finals.

"I didn’t play my best. I wasn’t playing well at all and I had to turn it around somehow," Zverev said. "I found my rhythm and I started playing much more aggressive, changed my tactics a little bit and it all worked out."

Baslashvili had far less drama in his victory, beating Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 6-3 in 67 minutes. The Georgian has won eight consecutive main draw matches in Hamburg, and he is pursuing his first title of the 2019 season.

"It’s not getting easier, but I’m looking forward to it," Zverev said. "I’m in the semi-finals, and that’s all that matters."

Did You Know?
Zverev has won his only previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting against Basilashvili. The German triumphed in Shanghai last year 7-5, 6-4, saving four of the five break points he faced.

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