Zverev Goes In Lockdown Mode Against Kyrgios
It had all the billings of another back-and-forth chapter of their budding rivalry: Alexander Zverev and Nick Kyrgios facing off again at the Miami Open presented by Itau with a quarter-final spot on the line.
Zverev, however, saw no need for any drama and was all business on Tuesday evening, dismissing his 22-year-old rival in two clean sets 6-4, 6-4 to return to the Miami quarter-finals for the second consecutive year.
The fourth seed won 76 per cent of his service points and didn't face a break point in the second set.
“It's always entertaining playing him. I think the crowd enjoys it. The media hypes it up a little bit. We both enjoy this kind of stage. I think the crowd was loving it today,” Zverev said. “Obviously I'm very happy with how I played, and hopefully I can continue doing so in the next few rounds.”
Zverev, a two-time Masters 1000 titlist (2017 Rome, 2017 Montreal) will continue his trek for a third Masters 1000 crown when he next meets Croatia's Borna Coric, who knocked out #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and 17 minutes. Coric leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 2-0, including a second-round win at the 2017 US Open.
“He's improved a lot, making the semi-finals of Indian Wells, making the quarter-finals here already. I think he's playing great ball. Hopefully it will be another entertaining one, and we'll see how it goes,” Zverev said.
Zverev had gained confidence from his first two wins in South Florida, advancing in three sets against both Russian Daniil Medvedev and David Ferrer of Spain. The No. 5 player in the ATP Rankings was locked in from the start against Kyrgios, breaking in the opening game and leading 5-1 after 15 minutes.
The Aussie, who made the Miami semi-finals in 2016 and 2017, looked to be bothered by his back, as he turned from side to side to stretch it. But, minutes later, he looked to be OK, and played like it, too. Kyrgios reeled off three straight games, and Zverev stepped to the line at 5-4 serving for the set a second time.
He clinched that opportunity, though, and broke in the fifth game of the second set to reach the last eight.