The Special Surprise Zverev Got After His Cologne Win
It might be a new week for Alexander Zverev in Cologne, but the home favorite continued winning on Wednesday. And after the top seed defeated Australian John Millman 6-0, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals of the bett1HULKS Championship, Zverev got a special surprise.
Tournament Dog Barnie strolled onto the court to congratulate Zverev during the German's on-court interview. Barnie has kept a close eye on the action since last week’s event began.
“Now my dogs will be jealous!” Zverev said, cracking a laugh.
“In the first set I thought I played flawlessly, but then I wasn’t focussed at the beginning of the second [set] and the match could turn around,” Zverev said. “John is someone who has beaten top players before… you’ve got to play until the end and I thought I did a poor job serving today. But I got the win somehow.”
The German knew he faced a tough foe in the unrelenting Millman, who pushed him to five sets at Roland Garros last year. Zverev had to dig deep again, overcoming second-serve difficulties in the third set to triumph after one hour and 55 minutes.
The 23-year-old earned the decisive break at 2-1 in the third set, crushing an inside out forehand and yelling ‘Come on!’ as a Millman backhand sailed long. As always, the Aussie battled until the last ball, putting pressure on the German. Zverev faced three break points at 4-2, but escaped the situation to prevail. Last week, Alexander’s older brother, Mischa Zverev, beat Millman 6-1, 6-4.
“I think my brother is much better than me, so that’s why he won more easily,” Zverev said, cracking a laugh. “I think John is someone who needs rhythm himself and against a baseliner, against a hard hitter, for me the harder you hit the ball against him the better it is for him. For me, it’s not easy to play slowly, so I think my game suits him quite well.”
Zverev will next face eighth seed Adrian Mannarino, who ousted Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic 6-3, 6-3 in one hour and 18 minutes. The top seed has won all three of their previous ATP Head2Head clashes, including a four-set victory at this year’s US Open.
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals competitor, beat American Steve Johnson 7-6(3), 6-3 to reach the last eight.