US Open: Zverev credits comeback win over Djokovic as reason for winning streak

By Sports Desk September 02, 2021

Alexander Zverev believes his comeback victory over Novak Djokovic at the Olympics has paved the way for his fine start at the US Open.

Zverev came from a set down to defeat world number one Djokovic 1-6 6-3 6-1 at the semi-final stage in Tokyo, with the German going on to claim gold by beating Karen Khachanov in straight sets.

The world number four carried the winning form to Cincinnati, triumphing at the Western and Southern Open, and has made a smooth start at Flushing Meadows, where he lost out to Dominic Thiem in last year's final.

Zverev did not offer up a single break point in a dominant first-round win over Sam Querrey, and lost only four games when cruising past Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-1 6-0 6-3 on Thursday.

"The process started at the Olympics for me, and the match against Novak," Zverev told reporters.

"That kind of started it off, because I was down badly, and I managed to win with great tennis.

"It was very important for me to kind of back it up in Cincinnati, because a lot of the times players that for the first time in their career win something really big like a grand slam title or a gold medal, they do tend to go downhill a little bit.

"So it was important for me to go to Cincinnati, to a place where I have never won a match before this year, and have a great tournament."

Another motivation for Zverev is the cruel fashion in which he lost to Thiem last year, when he surrendered a two-set lead.

"I mean I was the first man in 785 years to lose a US Open from two sets to love up and being a break up in the third set, serving for it in the fifth set, being two points away multiple times, it was painful," Zverev said with a smile.

"I still remember it, I remember it every single time I walk on this board but I take it as motivation because I'm back here to hopefully play a great tournament and win a grand slam title, that's what I’m here to do."

Zverev has now tallied up 40 wins in 2021 and 13 on the bounce, though the 24-year-old - who could meet Djokovic in the semi-finals - knows he has to maintain his strong service game to keep his best tennis.

"My serve is kind of the key to my game. When it's working I'm playing great. When it's not, I'm losing matches like I did at Wimbledon," he said.

"It's no secret that my serve is probably the most important shot in my game, and I'm happy with how it's working. The matches are not going to get easier and I will need that to be my weapon.

"I think it was always a problem of mine at the beginning of my career that I always spent a lot of hours, a lot of time in the beginning of grand slam tournaments. So it's nice to have two matches, winning [them] in straight sets."

Related items

  • Rybakina through, Azarenka out in Ostrava as Stefanini surprises as Jasmin Open Rybakina through, Azarenka out in Ostrava as Stefanini surprises as Jasmin Open

    Elena Rybakina advanced to the last 16 at the Ostrava Open on Monday, but fellow former grand slam winner Victoria Azarenka exited at the first hurdle.

    Rybakina, who has struggled for consistency since victory at Wimbledon earlier this year, came back from a set down to dispatch Madison Keys with a 5-7 6-3 6-3 win.

    She could face eighth seed Jelena Ostapenko in the next round, but one name not in the draw will be Azarenka, who could not claw back victory against Ekaterina Alexandrova in a 6-4 4-6 2-6 defeat.

    Alexandrova is in line to play either Emma Raducanu or Daria Kasatkina in the next stage.

    Meanwhile, top seeds Iga Swiatek and Paula Badosa earned the identity of their opponents after receiving first-round byes.

    Swiatek will play Ajla Tomljanovic, who progressed in straight sets against Zhang Shuai, as Badosa faces Petra Kvitova, who was made to work a little harder in three by Bernarda Pera.

    At the Jasmin Open, third, fifth and seventh seeds Alize Cornet, Elise Mertens and Katerina Siniakova each advanced with respective straight-sets routs of Laura Pigossi, Jaqueline Cristian and Chloe Paquet – the latter retiring as she trailed 4-0 in the second set.

    But eighth seed Magda Linette is out after letting an early lead slip against Lucrezia Stefanini, who celebrated a 2-6 6-4 6-4 victory.

  • Rublev cruises past Djere at Astana Open, Tiafoe through in Tokyo Rublev cruises past Djere at Astana Open, Tiafoe through in Tokyo

    World number nine Andrey Rublev comfortably beat qualifier Laslo Djere 6-4 6-3 to secure his place in the second round of the Astana Open.

    The fifth seed found a crucial break of serve when leading the opener 5-4 to take the first set in Kazakhstan, before winning the next three games to put himself in the ascendancy in the second.

    And despite a desperate last stand to stay in the match from Djere, Rublev held serve three times with relative ease to finish off his Serbian opponent.

    Eighth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime served 14 aces to Roberto Bautista-Agut's two in their first-round match, but it was the Spaniard who advanced with a 6-4 7-6 (8-6) success.

    Meanwhile, world number 10 Hubert Hurkacz overcame Francisco Cerundolo in straight sets.

    Adrian Mannarino, the runner-up in Astana in 2020, came from a set down to beat Stan Wawrinka – playing as a wildcard – 1-6 6-2 6-3, and qualifier Zhizhen Zhang romped to victory with a superb third set to seal a 4-6 6-4 6-1 comeback win of his own over Aslan Karatsev.

    At the Tokyo Open, fourth seed Frances Tiafoe cruised into the second round with a 6-3 6-4 triumph over Yasutaka Uchiyama, one of three Japanese players who crashed out at the first-round stage of their home tournament.

    Uchiyama's countrymen Taro Daniel and Shintaro Mochizuki also tasted defeat at the hands of Bernabe Zapata Miralles and Brandon Nakashima, respectively.

  • Swiatek pulls out of Billie Jean King Cup Finals due to 'unsafe' schedule Swiatek pulls out of Billie Jean King Cup Finals due to 'unsafe' schedule

    Iga Swiatek warned the tennis schedule is "not safe" and "could cause injury" as she pulled out of the Billie Jean King Cup Finals.

    The world number one was due to represent Poland in an event that will be staged in Glasgow from November 8-13, but withdrew on Monday.

    That competition will start just a day after the WTA Finals finish in Fort Worth, Texas.

    US and French Open champion Swiatek criticised governing bodies the WTA and International Tennis Federation (ITF), who run the Billie Jean King Cup, over the calendar.

    "I was thinking it through a lot and discussing it with my team, but I will not be able to play at the Billie Jean King Cup in Glasgow," Swiatek posted in an Instagram story.

    "It makes me sad. I'm very sorry, because I play for Poland whenever it's possible and I always give it my best.

    "Playing in Poland this year [in the qualifiers] was an honour and I hoped to do this again at the end of the season.

    "I'm disappointed that tennis governing bodies didn't come to an agreement on something as basic as the calendar of tournaments, giving us only one day to travel through the globe and changing the time zone.

    "The situation is not safe for our health and could cause injury."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.