Alexander Zverev had to have his right thigh treated in the second set. Jannik Sinner complained of blisters on his foot after his victory in the round of 16 against Russian Andrey Rublev (5-7, 6-1, 6-3).
Zverev already had a break in the second set (5:7, 1:2), but then really fought his way into the match at the Monte Carlo Country Club, located in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France.
Zverev served at 5:4 in the third set to win the match and was just two points away from victory at 30-30, but then had his serve removed for the fifth time. At 5:5, the German then missed a breakball.
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In the tie-break Zverev led 3-2 and 5-4 ahead with a mini-break, Sinner equalized twice – before a slight forehand error from the Italian finally swung the pendulum in Zverev’s direction . After 3:07, the German converted his first match point and scored a 3-1 victory in a direct comparison with the 20-year-old South Tyrolean.
Zverev happy with the sense of accomplishment
“This win means a lot to me – especially after how things have gone for me so far this year,” Zverev said after the marathon game: “I’ve lost a lot of games like this this year. . I am very happy, even though the level was not so high.”
Zverev admitted he had a ‘strong racket’ at 5:4 in the third set: “That’s what I mean – I’ve lost so many close games this year and it was on my mind. I think this win will help me.”
Audience clearly for Sinner
It was far from a “home game” for Zverev, who lives in Monaco, against Sinner: the sympathy of the spectators during the match on the Rainier III court near the Italian border was clearly with South Tyrol.
When Zverev served a low serve into the net in the third set and then quickly double-erred, whistles and then malevolent applause rang out from the stands. Again and again there were calls “Jannik! Jannik!”.
The atmosphere was partly similar to previous Davis Cup matches. Zverev was whistled as soon as he entered.
Zverev doubles with canceled Melo
The 24-year-old himself couldn’t say how much of a hindrance Zverev’s thigh problems in the semi-finals could be.
The doubles quarter-final with mate Marcelo Melo (Brazil) against the duo Marcelo Arévalo / Jean-Julien Rojer (El Salvador / Netherlands), which was scheduled for the evening, has been canceled. Official reason: Melo has back problems.
Since Tim Pütz also lost alongside Michael Venus (New Zealand) to double seeds Rajeev Ram / Joe Salisbury (USA/Great Britain) 4:6, 3:6, the semi-final doubles will take place without German participation.
Zverev gets back in shape
Prior to the 2022 Monaco tournament, Zverev had yet to beat a top-40 player except at the ATP Cup – but he already closed that gap with the opening win over Federico Delbonis (Argentina/35th) . So far this year, Zverev has only reached the final of a tournament in Montpellier in February.
After a weak on hard spring in Australia and the USA so far, Zverev now appears to be regaining form in the Principality. After Monte Carlo, he goes to another “home game” in Munich. The French Open, the highlight of the clay-court season, begins in Paris on May 22 (live on Eurosport).
If Zverev won in Monte Carlo, he would move up the world rankings with a total of 8105 points ahead of Daniil Medvedev (Russia / 8230) and Djokovic (8340), currently injured. The top of the world rankings would then be within reach after the Munich tournament.
Zverev was in the semi-finals in Monte Carlo in 2018
The 24-year-old was in the semi-finals in Monte Carlo in 2018 – back then he lost to Japan’s Kei Nishikori (6:3, 3:6, 4:6).
Zverev has won three of his five titles in clay-court masters tournaments. He won twice in Madrid and once in Rome. In Monte-Carlo, he is in the semi-finals for the second time since 2018. Last year, Zverev failed in the third round against Belgian David Goffin.
The second semi-final is disputed by the winner of Djokovic Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (Spain) and Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria).
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