W.hen in tennis, after the last rally of a set, both players shuffle their heads to their own bench, that doesn’t exactly speak for the level of the match. It was the same in the quarter-finals of the French Open between Alexander Zverev and the Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. In terms of play, both of them remained far below their own possibilities, especially in the first round.
Because Zverev got better afterwards, but his opponent didn’t, the game ended only a little later. Zverev won 6: 4, 6: 1, 6: 1, making it into the semi-finals of the French Open for the first time in his career.
“I didn’t play well at the beginning,” said Zverev immediately after the match. A little later he also explained why on the TV channel Eurosport. His racket was strung too hard, which caused him “extreme problems”. “I had no control, no spin,” he explained. When he was handed softer racquets after the first sentence, everything suddenly went easier. “Then I didn’t give him a chance,” said Zverev.
His path in Paris should not be over yet: “It’s nice to be in the semi-finals, but that’s not enough for me.” He said he didn’t want to “jump for joy just yet”. His next opponent will be determined in the evening by the Russian Daniiel Medvedev and the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Davidovich Fokina is one of the most unorthodox players on the professional tour. Zverev called him “crazy” before the match, which was meant exclusively in appreciation. In any case, Davidovich Fokina is not a representative of the classic Spanish sand court digger school. The son of a Swede and a Russian likes to play unusual. He once spoke with pride of a youth match in which he officially played 90 stops.
But this time the 21-year-old didn’t even get the chance. The match ended too quickly after around an hour and a half. Davidovich Fokina’s error rate was so high from the start that Zverev won the first set, even though he had played anything but well himself. When the German began to improve, the imbalance in the match was finally overwhelming.
Zverev only needed 50 minutes to win sets two and three. The duel had already taken place at the US Open last year. At that time, Zverev only allowed his opponent to win five games. This time there were six.