Alexander Zverev’s triumph on Monday in the fourth-round clash against Jannik Sinner was more about survival than dominance. In a grueling five-set battle, Zverev, the 26-year-old German, overcame not only his Italian opponent but also his lingering ankle injury from last year’s French Open. This victory secured his spot in the US Open quarter-finals for the third time.
Zverev’s journey back from his injury was evident as he battled fatigue and a resilient Sinner, who was in top form. The match, lasting over four and a half hours, concluded with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 scoreline – making it the longest match of the tournament this year. Zverev now looks ahead to a Wednesday showdown with defending champion and top seed Carlos Alcaraz.
An elated Zverev exclaimed, “I guess I can say I’m back, right? Last year when I wasn’t able to play, this is exactly what I missed: playing until 1.30 am in front of a packed crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium. There’s nothing better.”
The match between Zverev and Sinner was a relentless display of physical and mental endurance, unfolding amidst sweltering conditions that captivated a near-capacity crowd of over 20,000 spectators for more than four and a half hours.
From the very start, both players engaged in intense baseline rallies, showcasing their versatility by varying the spin and occasionally venturing to the net. Zverev secured the first set with a break for 5-4, marked by a powerful forehand winner. He closed the set with consecutive aces, thrilling the audience.
Sinner, a 22-year-old known for his potent ball-striking, surged in the second set, capitalizing on Zverev’s errors. Zverev managed to level the set but couldn’t maintain the momentum, as Sinner broke back and comfortably claimed the set.
In the third set, Zverev appeared to falter initially but regrouped to hold serve under pressure. In contrast, Sinner experienced cramps, visibly struggling on the court. Despite saving break points, Sinner couldn’t prevent Zverev from breaking twice, bringing him closer to victory.
As the match stretched into the early hours of Tuesday, both players battled exhaustion but continued to deliver high-quality tennis. Notably, Zverev had a spectator ejected from the crowd for making inappropriate remarks.
In the fourth set, Sinner displayed remarkable resilience, forcing Zverev to save break points in a marathon 16-minute game. Eventually, Sinner’s extraordinary shot-making and fighting spirit enabled him to break back, pushing the match to a decisive fifth set.
Zverev seized the initiative in the final set, breaking Sinner early and showcasing his net skills, winning 91% of net points. Despite the punishing humidity, Zverev’s performance at the net proved decisive.
Reflecting on the challenging conditions, Zverev said, “The humidity is what killed us both… I’m usually a guy that doesn’t sweat.”
With this hard-fought victory, Zverev moves closer to his goal of claiming a major title in New York, a goal made even more meaningful after his injury setback last year. Zverev expressed his excitement for what lies ahead, calling it one of the best moments of his career.