© Pete Staples/USTA

Alexander Zverev advances to the fourth round of the US Open for the third straight year.

Zverev Advances To Sinner Showdown After Sock Retires

The American struggles with an upper right leg injury

Jack Sock played a sensational opening set Saturday evening to get the Arthur Ashe Stadium fired up. But an upper right leg injury prevented him from maintaining that level, and he was forced to retire during the fourth set. Fourth seed Alexander Zverev advanced to the fourth round of the US Open 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 2-1.

“If Jack would have continued playing the way he was playing in the first set it would have been done in an hour-and-a-half and I would have planned my holidays and I would have had a good time next week somewhere in the south of France,” Zverev said in his on-court interview. “Jack is an incredible player. He’s been Top 10, he’s beaten me multiple times, he’s beaten top players multiple times. He’s a Masters 1000 champion and he showed it in the first set.

“He hit three-thousand winners and zero unforced errors in that first set, so when he’s playing like that, I’ve actually never seen that before. I’ve never played against anybody who was playing at that level, so I hope he can get healthy again and he’ll be at the top of the game very soon.”

The German is into the Round of 16 at Flushing Meadow for the third consecutive year. On his last visit to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center last year, Zverev came within two points of lifting his first major trophy in the final against Dominic Thiem.

Zverev is arguably playing the best tennis of his career, extending his winning streak to 14 behind 33 winners. The German made just 10 unforced errors.

Sock crushed a jaw-dropping 18 winners in the first set, dominating play with his forehand. But after the first game of the second set, the American had ATP physiotherapist Clay Sniteman wrap his upper right leg, and the tone of the match changed.

Zverev dropped well behind the baseline for most of the match and forced Sock to play extra balls and test his fitness. In the second-to-last point of the match, Sock leapt to try to reach a backhand lob, appearing to aggravate his injury again. One point later, after Zverev broke his serve, the home favourite retired.

“It’s difficult to sometimes play someone who is not 100 per cent. I think everybody saw that Jack was really struggling physically,” Zverev said. “You have to keep your focus. At the end of the day we are all competitors and we have to somehow bring the match to the end.”

The Tokyo Olympics singles gold medallist and Cincinnati champion will next play #NextGenATP Italian Jannik Sinner, who battled past Frenchman Gael Monfils in five sets earlier in the day.

“I think my fourth-round match against Jannik Sinner is going to be extremely entertaining because he’s a very young guy who is very hungry and I feel like that is going to be a high-level match," Zverev said. "I do know that I’m playing okay, but I do know that other players are playing extremely well as well, so I’m hoping to keep my form and give myself the best chance."

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