Djokovic, Thiem, Zverev and Wozniacki in 4th-round action

Arnold Nichols
June 8, 2018

Alexander Zverev has put in countless hours of work with Jez Green, the former fitness trainer of Andy Murray, and it has certainly paid off at Roland Garros.

Zverev, who had come through three five-set matches to reach the last eight, required a medical timeout at the start of the second set and was clearly affected in his first grand slam quarter-final.

But despite winning three Masters titles including two on clay, he had yet to reach the last eight at a major tournament until beating Karen Khachanov in five sets on Sunday. But the German player also showed, once again, that he knows how to dig deep when it matters. He missed an easy forehand on his first match point, biting down on his fingers in frustration. "I had no problems to go the distance in long rallies and I won in the three sets against a player who is in form, especially for this surface".

After looking down and out for much of the third set, second seed Zverev was sacked up by a code violation for being coached from the stands by his father Alexander Sr midway through the fourth set and he vented his anger by instantly breaking for a 4-2 lead. "And the last ten years you needed to beat at least two of them in a Grand Slam to win, and not many players did it", said Thiem.

The 24-year-old, back-to-back semi-finalist at Roland Garros, raced through the opening two sets easily as Nishikori recorded 16 unforced errors and struggle and was put on the back foot by Thiem's greater baseline aggression.

Despite saving the point with a ruthless serve after his disagreement with the umpire, Zverev surrendered the first set lead to Khachnov with a netted backhand.

She clinched the victory on her first match point with a forehand victor from the baseline.

The eagerly anticipated match between two of the game's young stars lasted just one hour and 50 minutes, with Thiem prevailing 6-4 6-2 6-1 on the Philippe Chatrier Court.


"At the end I was nervous". Their match was suspended at 3-3 in the second set.

The Austrian routed a sluggish Kei Nishikori early, then hung for a 6-2, 6-0, 5-7, 6-4 win.

Keys beats Putintseva In the women's singles quarter-finals, American 13th seed Madison Keys proved too strong for Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva as she reached semi-finals for the first time.

"I'm young, so I might as well stay on court and practise a little bit", Zverev said courtside.

Thiem will be looking for revenge as he was handed a straight-game thrashing the last time the two youngsters met - Madrid Open final in May.

After squandering two break-point chances, Zverev made amends in the Russian's following service game in the second set to take command but Khachanov hit back on his fifth break point when the German served for the second set to secure the break back. I'll get myself ready, " Zverev said, smiling.

Two Americans are in the women's quarterfinals: No. 10 Sloane Stephens and No. 13 Madison Keys, who played each other in the U.S. Open final past year.

So it was a quarter-final greeted with much intrigue and excitement as both men looked to move a step closer to a potential first Grand Slam title.

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