By Ros Satar, in Paris
- Alexander Zverev  def. Karen Khachanov 4-6 7-6(4) 2-6 6-3 6-3
- Will face Dominic Thiem once more at Roland Garros, in the quarter-final
PARIS, FRANCE – Alexander Zverev had to come from behind once more to book his place in his first Slam quarter-final.
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No. 2 seed Alexander Zverev finally reached the milestone of reaching a Grand Slam quarter-final, with a five-set win over ATP Next Gen’s Karen Khachanov. In a third five-setter in a row, Zverev had to come from behind twice to book his spot in the last eight, and the level of his tennis in the deciding set was high.
He will face in Dominic Thiem once more at Roland Garros – they last met in the third round in 2016 where he took the first set from the Austrian before Thiem powered past him. However, despite the fact that Thiem had a dominant head to head over Zverev (especially on clay) the honours went to the German in the Madrid Masters final, in quite commanding fashion.
The conditions are going to be very different from the altitude of Madrid, and what it will come down to his experience and stamina. It is the latter that might start to cause more concern. While Zverev batted away questions about whether a third five-set match would start to take its toll, there is no doubt that Thiem in a best-of-five is not going to be easy – he should expect either four or five sets for sure.
Zverev said: “I’m not concerned. Mental, definitely not, because, you know, I’m in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam. If you’re mentally fatigued, then something is wrong with you.
“Physically, obviously it’s not easy to play, you know, back to back to back five-set matches, but I will manage it somehow. I will do everything I can to recover, as I said after the last match. I will make sure to be ready in two days’ time.”
Even though Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are still dominating at the top of the tour, and the Generation Lost Boys never quite managed to crack the Big Four (or Five) so the Next Gen crop have a lot of pressure on their newer shoulders.
He continued: “I think us young players all are improving quite quickly, and I think we are all trying to get better and trying to change, you know, the top guys a little bit.
“I’m top 3 in the world now. I think other young guys are coming up strong. I think in the end we’ll be very high soon. Shapovalov is in a good way and other good players. I think with time we will see who can become the next Grand Slam champion, who can become the next world No. 1.
“But right now, I mean, Roger and Rafa are dominating, but we are doing everything we can to change that.”
Zverev will meet Thiem in the quarter-final on Tuesday.
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