Zverev Keeps Up Top Form In Halle

Haase upsets Thiem on Wednesday

Alexander Zverev continued his solid start to the grass season on Wednesday at the Gerry Weber Open, downing fellow German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals.

"I'm very satisfied because Philipp is someone who can play very well on grass. He mixes it up well with his slice and serve, so he's always a difficult opponent on this surface," said Zverev. "I'm glad I could win in two sets and have the feeling I played well."

The 20 year old Zverev picks up his first FedEx ATP Head2Head win over Kohlschreiber in three attempts, avenging losses from 2015 in Munich and the US Open. He didn’t face a break point in the match, firing 10 aces and landing 81 per cent of his first serves. Zverev needed only a single break in each set to advance in 64 minutes. The fourth seed has yet to drop serve this week in Halle.

Second seed Dominic Thiem wasn't as fortunate, with Robin Haase saving three set points to produce an inspired 6-3, 7-6(7) victory. The Dutchman scores his fifth win over a player inside the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings (5-21), and is through to his first quarter-final in Halle in his fifth attempt. He also improves his FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Thiem to 3-2.

Zverev continues to produce solid results on the grass after recording a semi-final finish last week in Stuttgart (l. Muller). Last year, he defeated Roger Federer en route to the Halle final (l. Mayer).

Next up for the World No. 12 in the Emirates ATP Rankings is seventh seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who survived a wild battle against local favourite Dustin Brown 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(6). The Spaniard twice served to stay in the match at 4-5 and 5-6 in the deciding set. Bautista Agut boosts his FedEx ATP Head2Head against Brown to 2-0 and is through to his first quarter-final in Halle.

Bautista Agut leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head against Zverev 2-1, but the German won their most recent meeting last month in the Munich semi-finals.

"He's also going to be a difficult opponent," said Zverev. "My opponents this week, Paolo Lorenzi, Kohlschreiber and Bautista Agut, are actually players who are not very different in their games. Hopefully I can adapt to his game and play just as well as I did today."

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Thiem struggled on his serve in the opening set, landing just 41 per cent of his first serves. Meanwhile, Haase was on song from the baseline, scoring the lone break of the set at 4-3 to take the early advantage. 

A pair of aggressive forehands from Haase gave him a break at 5-5 and the chance to serve out the match, but Thiem responded with a big forehand of his own in the next game to force a tie-break. The second seed went up 6/4, but gave away both set points with unforced errors.

Thiem earned a third set point at 7/6, but some impressive scrambling from Haase, including running down an overhead, ultimately leveled the tie-break. Haase earned a match point at 8/7 and Thiem hit his sixth double fault to end the contest in one hour and 34 minutes. 

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“It was not the best start I’ve had. The first set was pretty average. I played good in the second set and had a lot of chances, but he played those set points well and was playing well overall,” said Thiem. “I hope to get some matches next week (in Antalya) and then get ready for Wimbledon.” 

Awaiting Haase in the quarter-finals is Richard Gasquet, who needed just 58 minutes to move past Aussie Bernard Tomic 6-3, 6-3. He improves his FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Tomic to 7-2

The Frenchman lead his FedEx ATP Head2Head against Haase 4-1, but the Dutchman's lone victory came in Halle in 2014.

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