ATP Monte-Carlo – Alexander Zverev defeats Jannik Sinner and qualifies for the semifinals

It was one hell of a test and he passed it. Alexander Zverev will be there for the final four on the Rock and he hasn’t been idle to secure his spot there. Led by a set and a break, the world No. 3 pulled out the warm-up blue to beat Jannik Sinner, 12th at ATP, in three sets (5-7, 6-3, 7-6) and more than three hours of battle (exactly 3:07) in the quarterfinals on Friday. For the second half of his career in Monte-Carlo after the 2018 edition, the German Olympic champion will face Stefanos Tsitsipas or Diego Schwartzman.

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Maybe he’s turning his season. Arriving on the clay courts of Monte-Carlo, Alexander Zverev certainly had many more doubts than certainties, due to a start to the season that was (very) far from his expectations. And it is clear that he has not yet shone with unfailing composure this Friday. But faced with a Jannik Sinner following his success against Andrey Rublev in the preliminary round and supported by the vast majority of the crowd – including many Italians who came as neighbors – the great Sascha fought the moment with his guns and he finally reaped the rewards.

Still too feverish, Zverev had the merit of tearing himself away

Zverev, seeded number 2 in the tournament, again showed too many weaknesses for a player of his status. After an excellent start (4:1) he lost the thread, revived the fever of the last few weeks, gave up five of the next six games and the first set. That was repeated at the very end of the game when, after regaining complete control of the game, he showed guilty passivity on serve to qualify 5-7 6-3 5-4 and Sinner stepped into the breach.

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And yet the German showed impressive solidity even in the center of the storm. On the 7-5, 2-1 break against him when he seemed to have forgotten where he lived, he regained his composure and basics on serve and from the baseline to catch up (5-7, 2-2). With new intensity and a deadly longline backhand, he then managed to equalize the 4:3 lead. After having a set again throughout (5-7, 6-3), he even extended his advantage early in the final act with an early break that was embellished with several inspired net climbs.

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The whole paradox that Zverev will have captured in this match with one observation: when he seemed to be most in control, he systematically embarrassed himself. After twice having the break early in that third set, he was forced to play an unbreathable tie-break, playing it safe and content with putting the ball as far back in court as possible. And while he’d often paid for that passivity in the recent past, this time Sinner fell into his trap by risking too much with the lines. If he is far from recapturing his great end of 2021, the great “Sascha” could put this success on the wire to good use. Story of saving the trust he still lacks in 2022.

Alexander Zverev in his quarter-final against Jannik Sinner on April 15, 2022 in Monte-Carlo

Photo credit: Getty Images

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