Alexander Zverev is riding a wave at the US Open after his confidence-boosting win over world number one Novak Djokovic en route to claiming gold at the Olympic Games.

Zverev survived a first-set scare to power past Lloyd Harris 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 6-4 in Wednesday's US Open quarter-final.

The German fourth seed will face either Djokovic, who is bidding to become just the third man to complete a calendar Grand Slam and first since 1969, or Matteo Berrettini for a spot in the men's final at Flushing Meadows.

Zverev – last year's US Open runner-up – said he has been fuelled by his semi-final win over Djokovic at the Tokyo Games.

"It's the biggest tournament in the world, Tokyo. It's the Olympics," Zverev said during his post-match news conference.

"Winning there against the world number one, especially that I was down a set and a break, being kind of out of the match, then coming back, it was different than the other matches. The emotions were different.

"Also securing a medal for Germany was very special to me. This year it seems like nobody can beat him in a big match, nobody can beat him at the grand slams.

"I feel like I was the first player to beat him in a very big match this year. That does give you something. To any person it would give you something.

"As I said before also, I think it was very important for me to back it up in the finals, back it up in Cincinnati. Hopefully I can continue this streak."

Zverev is in the midst of a career-best 16-match winning streak and has clinched 37 of 40 sets on the hard courts after winning Olympic gold and his fifth career ATP Masters 1000 crown in Cincinnati.

The 24-year-old is bidding to become the second man in history to win Olympic gold medal and the US Open/US Championships title in the same season, after Andy Murray in 2012.

On preparing against Djokovic, Zverev added: "You have to be perfect, otherwise you will not win.

"Most of the time you can't be perfect. That's why most of the time people lose to him. Against him, you have to win the match yourself. You have to be the one that is dominating the points. You have to do it with very little unforced errors.

"He is the best player in the world. He is very difficult to beat. But he's still also got to win tonight. He's playing Matteo Berrettini who is in very good form, finals of Wimbledon. I think he's looking forward to that match, as well. It's going to be an interesting match to watch those two."

Alexander Zverev won his 16th match in a row with a straight-sets victory over Lloyd Harris on Wednesday to reach the US Open semi-finals.

The fourth seed saved a set point from Harris in a tense opener and built on that to earn a 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 6-4 triumph in a little over two hours.

Zverev has dropped just one set across his five matches at Flushing Meadows this year and will face either Novak Djokovic or Matteo Berrettini as he seeks a place in back-to-back finals.

"I just hope their match goes on for eight hours and 30 minutes," Zverev joked when asked who he would prefer to face in the semi-finals.

"I didn't have a lot of chances on Harris' serve today and somehow managed to win that first set, which loosened me up a little bit and I started playing a lot better.

"In the third set, he started swinging. He started playing incredible tennis. So yeah, I'm happy to be through in three."

Harris beat three top-30 seeds to make it to this stage and more than held his own in the opening set against Zverev, who lost to Dominic Thiem in last year's final.

After sharing a break of serve apiece, Harris led 6-5 in the tie-break but lost the next three points to offer his opponent a platform to build from.

Despite struggling with a minor back problem, Zverev took advantage of his unseeded opponent's five unforced errors by holding throughout the second set.

The four-time grand slam semi-finalist raced into a 4-0 lead in the third set, but Harris slowly regained his composure and claimed the next three games.

Zverev's monster serve came to his rescue, however, as he took the eighth game and eased over the line in style with his 21st ace of the contest.

 

DATA SLAM

Zverev did not have things all his own way as he struggled in the opening set and was sloppy when leading 4-1 in the final set, but he ultimately proved too strong for an opponent ranked 46th in the world.

Last year's beaten finalist Zverev has served 83 aces and just 15 double faults across his first five matches and won 82 per cent of his first-serve points against Harris. Whether it is Djokovic or Berrettini, a tougher test awaits in the semi-finals.


WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Zverev – 43/26
Harris – 34/26

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Zverev – 21/5
Harris – 13/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Zverev – 4/9
Harris – 2/3

Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Alexander Zverev refused to get carried away about his chances of winning his maiden major title despite easing into the US Open fourth round on Saturday.

The German fourth seed was leading 3-6 6-2 6-3 2-1 when Jack Sock withdrew with a groin issue which had been plaguing him throughout the match.

Zverev's walkover victory extended his winning run to 14 matches, dating back to his Tokyo 2020 gold medal triumph along with last month's Cincinnati Masters victory.

Reigning champion Dominic Thiem along with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer all withdrew from the US Open prior to the tournament, opening the door for a first time winner.

"I’m on a 14-match winning streak now," Zverev said during his on-court interview. "I’m playing well. That’s all I want to say, I don’t want to say anything else.

"We all know that Novak is the big favourite, we all know that Daniil [Medvedev] is playing incredible tennis, we all know that there are a lot of other players out there that are playing incredible tennis.

"I think my fourth-round match against Jannik Sinner is going to be extremely entertaining because he’s a young guy that is very hungry and I feel like that’s going to be a high-level match."

Zverev also spoke about his drive to succeed at majors, having struggled earlier in his career.

The German was runner-up at last year's US Open and made the semi-finals at this year's French Open and last year's Australian Open.

Zverev's hopes for going deep at Flushing Meadows will be aided by the premature end to his match with Sock, having won in straight sets in the first two rounds over Sam Querrey and Albert Ramos Vinolas.

The Olympics gold medalist was full of praise for Sock, who has been plagued by injuries, after a dominant opening set.

"Jack I think played the best set of tennis I've ever seen him play," Zverev said. "I did one unforced error in the whole set and I lost it, 6-3, without having really any chances.

"If he would have kept it up I probably would not have won the match… Afterwards when he gets injured, it's a shame because otherwise it would have been an incredible match I think."

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."

Stefanos Tsitsipas has defended his "personal need" for long bathroom breaks after being jeered during his four-set second round win over Adrian Mannarino at the US Open on Wednesday.

The world number three triumphed 6-3 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-0 but was booed by the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd after taking a bathroom break which exceeded seven minutes.

The Greek was criticized by Andy Murray, who said he lost respect for Tsitsipas after taking a lengthy break ahead of the final set in their five-set first round epic on Monday.

Alexander Zverev weighed in on the discussion, claiming Tsitsipas was communicating with his coach during his bathroom breaks, labelling them "ridiculous" and saying he had broken an "unwritten law".

Tsitsipas reverted to the rule book in his defence after beating Mannarino, insisting he had done nothing illegal and longer breaks were part of his "personal needs".

"It's just my personal needs," Tsitsipas told reporters. "Some people have other needs. Some people take much more than 25 seconds between points, which is fair.  

"I've done everything the right way. If I haven't I should be penalized. I completely agree with it. I should get a fine or be penalized if I haven’t followed whatever I've done correctly. But as far as I know, it is a necessity, it is a need when I'm out there playing and performing."

Tsitsipas said he felt fans who booed and jeered did not understand the game or his need to take longer bathroom breaks.

"I haven’t done anything wrong so I don't understand," he said. "The people love the sport, they come to watch tennis. I have nothing against them. But some people don't understand. They haven't played tennis at high level to understand how much effort and how much difficult it is to do what we are doing."

He added: "It is important. First of all, you carry less weight on you with all the sweat. You feel rejuvenated, you feel fresh, and you don't have all the sweat bothering you and coming in your face, on your fingers, everywhere all over your body. It makes you feel better.

"For me it is important to take that break. For someone else probably not. And everyone has his own time. I try and be as quick as I can. Sometimes I just need a bit more time."

Tsitsipas added that he was taken aback by the public criticism from Murray and Zverev.

"I never complain of what other players do," the 23-year-old French Open runner-up said. "My parents have taught me not to watch other people's business and concentrate on myself. Do my job.

"I just don’t understand when some players go and criticize other players, or during a match they put too much emphasis on it."

There have been calls for a hard cap on the permitted time for bathroom breaks, which American Sloane Stephens agreed with, speaking after her straight-sets win over 21st seed Coco Cauff.

"I don't think you should be gone from the court for six-eight minutes," Stephens said. "It's a long time to leave a match. That changes the whole momentum of a match.

"I can't speak for what happened in that match, but I do know on the girls' side, there still is a lot of that. It's gamesmanship.

"I think there definitely needs to be a rule or changes. They make a lot of rule changes for smaller things, like they took one minute off the warmup. If someone goes to the bathroom for nine minutes, no one says anything."

Alexander Zverev has accused Stefanos Tsitsipas of behaving like a junior and disrespecting his opponents by taking such long bathroom breaks during matches.

Andy Murray was furious when Tsitsipas was off court for around eight minutes ahead of the final set in their thrilling first-round match at the US Open on Monday.

Tsitsipas also required a medical timeout for a foot problem during a pulsating contest that the world number three won 2-6 7-6 (9-7) 3-6 6-3 6-4 at Flushing Meadows.

Murray said he had lost respect for the 23-year-old, who defended his lengthy spell off court and stated he had played by the rules.

The Brit was in no mood to back down on Tuesday, however, as he tweeted: "Fact of the day. It takes Stefanos Tsitsipas twice as long to go the bathroom as it takes Jeff Bezos to fly into space. Interesting."

Zverev appeared to accuse Tsitsipas of communicating with his father and coach, Apostolos, when he took a break during their semi-final showdown at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati this month.

Tsitsipas responded by denying having ever used his phone during such a situation, describing the accusation as "absolutely ridiculous."

However, world number four Zverev had Tsitsipas in his sights once again after beating Sam Querrey 6-4 7-5 6-2 in New York.

The German said: "It's happening every match. It's not normal. It happened to me in the French Open, to Novak at the finals [of the] French Open. I think Hamburg against [Filip] Krajinovic he was complaining, against me in Cincinnati was ridiculous, and now here again. I think players are catching up with that.

"He's the number three player in the world. I do not believe he needs to do that, because if you're top three in the world, you're one of the best in the sport.

"These kind of things happen at junior events, at Futures, at Challengers maybe, but not when you're top three in the world.

"You're allowed to do that but it's like an unwritten rule with players. I have been breaking rackets, I go insane sometimes and all that but one thing I'm very proud of, and I'll keep for the rest of my career, is I win and I lose by playing tennis on the tennis court."

Zverev reiterated his grievance with Tsitsipas having taken such a lengthy break during their meeting in Cincinnati.

"I didn't ask that question in Cincinnati, which I was very surprised at, because I was going to answer that very truthfully and honestly," he said.

"He's gone for 10-plus minutes. His dad is texting on the phone. He comes out and all of a sudden his tactic completely changed. It's just not me but everybody saw it. The whole game plan changes.

"I'm like, either it's a very magical place he goes to or there is communication there. But I also don't want to disrespect him. He is a great player, he is number three in the world for a reason. He's winning tournaments and playing incredible tennis this year for a reason, so it's not only that.

"But I do believe, and Andy said it as well, there is some level of respect that everybody needs to have between players.

"I feel like sometimes - or he might just go to the toilet. We don't know that, that's also possible. But it just happens too often, I would say."

Alexander Zverev believes world number one Novak Djokovic remains the favourite for the upcoming U.S. Open despite the German backing up his Olympic gold medal with victory in Cincinnati.

The German world number four defeated Andrey Rublev in straight sets on Sunday to win the Western and Southern Open, claiming his fourth title of the ATP season.

The 2021 U.S. Open begins next Monday with Dominic Thiem, who defeated Zverev in the 2020 final, withdrawing from the men's draw along with superstar Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Their absences have opened up an opportunity for the in-form Zverev to have a run at the title but the German insisted Djokovic, who he defeated in the Olympic semi-finals, is the player to beat.

"I do think that he's still the favourite," Zverev told reporters after his win in Cincinnati.

"I do think he's going to be playing incredible tennis there. He's going to be fresh, and I think there is also other guys that are in very good form. I think Rublev is in very good form, [Daniil] Medvedev, [Stefanos] Tsitsipas, all those guys are playing great tennis.

"It's definitely going to be an interesting US Open. But I'm also looking forward to it, because I know where I stand, I know how I'm playing, and I hope I can continue the work and hopefully play even better in New York."

Djokovic has not played since Tokyo 2020, where he lost his bronze medal match to Pablo Carreno Busta after his semi-final defeat to Zverev.

The Serbian world number one opted to withdraw from the mixed doubles' semi-final afterwards, citing a left shoulder injury.

"I think Novak will be back. He's obviously going to be the favourite but I think other guys are going to be in great shape,” Zverev said.

"I'm looking forward to the week. Let's see how it goes. But there is still one week to go. I still have a lot of work ahead of me. I have to find my rhythm in New York, as well."

Zverev, who had never won a match in Cincinnati prior to this year's event, has not lost a match since his Wimbledon fourth-round exit to Felix Auger-Aliassime in July.

Alexander Zverev claimed his fourth title of 2021 with a 6-2 6-3 victory over Andrey Rublev to win the Western and Southern Open.

The Olympic champion had not won a match in Cincinnati prior to this year's tournament, but Sunday's one-sided final capped a remarkable turnaround for the world number five.

Zverev raced into a 4-0 lead before securing the opening set 6-2 as he produced no errors across the first seven games.

The third seed carried on his domination, breaking Rublev in his opening service game of the second set to pave the way for the 17th ATP title of his career within an hour in the showpiece.

After paying tribute to "his best friend on Tour" Rublev, Zverev added in his on-court interview: "It is incredible that tennis can be back, sport can be back, and we can watch and play this beautiful sport again.

"I normally do not look forward to this week - not winning a single match in seven years - but this has now become one of my favourite times of the year for me, hopefully it can be for the next 10 to 15 years."

The 24-year-old reached the final of the US Open last year, though he will now eye going one step further as the tournament commences at the end of August.

Andrey Rublev finally got the better of compatriot Daniil Medvedev after a flashpoint involving a courtside camera in the Western and Southern Open semi-finals.

Rublev will now face Alexander Zverev in the decider, having ended Medvedev's bid for a Toronto-Cincinnati double.

Medvedev had never even dropped a set to his fellow Russian in four prior ATP Tour meetings and appeared to be on course for another dominant victory when he took the first set.

But the world number two clattered into a camera early in the second and all momentum was soon lost.

Medvedev complained about the positioning of the camera, claiming it had caused a hand injury and aiming a kick at the lens.

He swiftly called for treatment as his performance started to fall well below his lofty standards, with Rublev finally able to win a set after breaking in an epic 15-minute game.

A series of unforced Medvedev errors allowed Rublev to break again in the decider and seal a stunning 2-6 6-3 6-3 triumph.

Third seed Zverev fought back from a double break down in the final set to progress to the final with a 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-4) win over second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The epic match lasted two hours and 41 minutes, with Zverev responding strongly after appearing unwell to book his spot in the final against Rublev.

Rublev gets his Daniil degree

Asked to reflect on finally toppling Medvedev, Rublev told Amazon: "It's always tough to play against Daniil and to beat him.

"I think it gives me a bit more confidence that I can play against him, I can compete against him. There are still so many things to improve, but it's like I've passed university."

The victory came as a relief, with Rublev believing he was unfortunate even to be trailing in the first set.

"Inside I was thinking, when I was 6-2, the score shouldn't be like this," he said.

"The points were really tight, some little outs, little mistakes, some good shots from Daniil. The score was not real [in] the first set.

"Even the third set, I won 6-3 but the match was so intense. You saw so many rallies, so many long rallies, and it was so tough.

"It was a super mental match, a super physical match, exactly like a chess match."

Zverev's Novak mentality

Tokyo 2020 gold medalist Zverev had trailed 4-1 in the third set against Tsitsipas, but fought back with two breaks before winning in a tie-break.

"After I did the first break back I thought 'OK I have the chances'," Zverev said during his on-court interview. "I felt like he was not serving bombs. I felt like I was always in the rallies but I was losing the rallies because I was a bit low energy, so I started being a bit more aggressive, a bit of the Novak mentality that I had against him at the Olympics as well."

Zverev has a 4-0 record against final opponent Rublev but he was wary of his opponent.

"Favourite or not, I think if you're in the final, there's no easy opponent," he said. "Today he played incredible beating Medvedev."

Nick Kyrgios, John Isner and Reilly Opelka have been named by Team World captain John McEnroe as his final three picks for the Laver Cup.

The trio join Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Diego Schwartzman for the team event which runs from September 24-26 at TD Garden in Boston.

Laver Cup newcomer Opelka rose to a career-high world number 23 ranking en route to his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Toronto and defeated world number three Stefanos Tsitsipas, who will play for Bjorn Borg's Team Europe.

Isner, who has featured for Team World since the inaugural event in 2017, reached the semi-finals in Toronto and claimed his 16th ATP Tour title in Atlanta at the start of August.

He described the Laver Cup as "a highlight of my year", adding: "To be on a team with guys we're normally competing against is so different and so much fun. We come together so well as a group, the chemistry is awesome and it's such a great environment to be part of."

Australian firebrand Kyrgios is a striking inclusion in Team World's roster, while Team Europe will be without their big three: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Federer and Dominic Thiem were expected to take part in this year's event, though both were forced to withdraw with injuries.

However, Borg's men still boast six of the world's top 11. World number two Daniil Medvedev leads the line-up, with Tsitsipas and Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Alexander Zverev for company.

Casper Ruud, who collected a 14th win in his last 15 completed matches on tour when he beat Opelka on Wednesday, will feature, while Andrey Rublev and Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini complete the six-man team.

Team Europe have landed the title in each of the three editions of the tournament so far, with Prague, Chicago and Geneva having served as hosts.

Roger Federer has withdrawn from both the Canadian Open and Cincinnati Masters as he continues to recover from a knee injury.

After undergoing two operations on his right knee last year, Federer has competed in just five events so far in 2021.

Most recently, the 20-time Grand Slam champion reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals, before losing in straight sets to an inspired Hubert Hurkacz.

The 39-year-old then missed the Olympic Games due to what he described as a "setback" with his knee.

He was scheduled to appear in Toronto and Cincinnati – where he is a seven-time winner – and step up his preparation ahead of the US Open.

However, his participation in the final Slam of the year is now uncertain after he pulled out of this month's ATP Masters 1000 tournaments.

Another player who will not be competing in Toronto is Alexander Zverev; the Olympic gold medallist also opting to withdraw.

In a statement, he said: "Due to the intense past couple of weeks and my incredible experience at the Olympics, I need to recover so that I can hopefully be at my best for the remainder of the U.S. summer swing.

"It was a difficult decision for me as I have had great memories from Canada and I can't wait to be back next year!"

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