Zverev fights off stiff opposition from Medvedev

Challenge Zverev semifinals defeats Medvedev

Miami Open, USA

[5] Alexander Zverev (GER) vs. [52] Daniil Medvedev (RUS)

Today’s match was a testament of just how much of a rut our spotlight player is in. In their two previous matches, Medvedev had never won a set against the German, and today he came pretty close to beating him.

Since his impressive 2017 season and his run to the Nitto ATP Finals, Zverev has been struggling to find the form that won him two Masters 1000 titles. He has lost to players he should not have lost to and now doubts have crept into his mind. As I watched him play today, I noticed the change in his game and his demeanor; no longer is he playing with freedom.

He used to play with a desire to win and now I sense that he’s playing with a fear of losing. Now much is expected of him and that pressure perhaps has eroded his confidence. The script was set for him to win this in straight sets; yet, he struggled. He was broken first in the match; however, he found a way to break the Russian twice to secure the first set.

Now, with the momentum fully on his side he lost his way. He served too many double faults for someone with his serving ability and he struggled on his backhand, which used to be a very reliable weapon. Of course when you struggle in any area of your game it eventually trickles over into every aspect of your game. Medvedev had him on a string, exposing a couple of areas that he is still working on improving: his forehand and his mobility.

The match came down to a tiebreak and Zverev managed to squeak out the 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(5) victory. Hopefully winning when not at his best will re-awaken his belief in his game and get him through this transition period as he settles into his physique. There is no doubt that he still has game.

SOURCE OF IMAGES:  serveandrally (Alexander Zverev)

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