Alexander Zverev beat Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3 7-5 to reach the semi-finals of the Madrid Open after a dominant display.
Zverev overcame early serving woes to deliver his “best match of the last few months” as he battled through eight second-set double faults to set up a semi-final tie with Stefanos Tsitsipas.
“I think this was maybe the best match of the last few months from my side, except maybe the end a little bit,” Zverev said.
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“Throughout one-and-a-half sets I played good tennis and I hope I can continue playing this way.”
World number three Zverev was on course for a routine victory after going a set up, but wobbled late on, missing four chances to make it a double break in the second.
This gave Auger-Aliassime a lifeline and allowed the Canadian to secure his first break of the match to level the set.
Zverev’s quality shone through as he reasserted himself late on, and created two match points on the return at 4-5 to finish the match off with his fourth break to avoid a tie-break.
“I couldn’t put a serve in the court, I had chances to go up 5-1 in the second set and I think the match would have been over,” Zverev said, explaining why the match tightened up late on.
But I didn’t use my chances and he fought back well. But I kept fighting as well, and that’s how I got the win.
Despite nine double faults in the match, Zverev still won 56 per cent of his second-serve points, far outpacing Auger-Aliassime’s 13 of 34 (38 per cent).
His all-round game was at its imperious best, as he also won 74 per cent of points to his opponent’s 65 per cent.
Speaking about his semi-final opponent, Zverev said: “Rafa is on his way back and Novak is starting to gain momentum, but right now maybe he’s the best clay-court player in the world.
“I think I need to play my best level to have a chance, but I’m looking forward to this match because in Monte Carlo he beat me quite easily. I hope I can change that.”
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Source: Euro Sports