Zverev Wins All-German Battle

Alexander Zverev won a battle of German giants on Thursday for a place in his first Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters quarter-final.

In a match of power tennis that featured 15 service breaks, 6’6” Zverev overcame his 6’5” compatriot, Jan-Lennard Struff, in a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over two hours and three minutes. “I think I was hitting the ball pretty well, but we couldn’t hold onto our serves,” said Zverev post-match.

On Friday, his 21st birthday, Zverev will play 2005 semi-finalist Richard Gasquet, who today became the first Frenchman in the Open Era to record 500 tour-level match wins.

“To be in the quarter-finals of an [ATP World Tour] Masters 1000, you have to play well and the draw doesn’t get any easier,” said Zverev.

On a sweltering hot day, when towelling down between points was a necessity, neither Zverev or Struff gave much away on first serve — Zverev 13/18, Struff 9/13 — in the 38-minute first set. Zverev took a 3-1 lead, before a mid-set exchange of service breaks.

The second set was a scrappy affair from 1-1, with seven breaks in eight games. Struff served for the set at 5-3, but it was Zverev who ended the set by hitting his fifth double fault of the pair’s third FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting.

Frustrated by the error, Zverev responded immediately to break Struff to 15 in the first game of the decider, but soon dropped his own serve to 15 for 1-1. Three more service breaks followed before Struff saved one match point at 4-5, 30/40. In the next game on Zverev’s serve at 30/30, Struff snatched at a forehand volley and moments later his challenge ended.

Zverev, one of a tournament-high four Germans competing in the Monte-Carlo third round on Thursday (also Kohlschreiber), has now won seven matches in a row against his compatriots since losing to Florian Mayer in June 2016 in the Gerry Weber Open final.

Last month, Zverev lost to John Isner in the Miami Open presented by Itau final — his third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title match (2-1 record). He has a 16-6 match record this year.

Gasquet denied Zverev meeting his older brother, Mischa Zverev, in a 6-2, 7-5 win late afternoon.

Gasquet got off to a perfect start winning the first three games, including two service breaks, and appeared to be on course for a routine win when he broke to lead 3-2 in the second set. But Zverev bounced back, although he could not convert one set point opportunity at 5-4, with Gasquet serving at 30/40.

Zverev leads Gasquet 3-0 in their series, with three meetings in 2017 at the Open Sud de France final in Montpellier, Gerry Weber Open in Halle and the Rogers Cup in Montreal.

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