Zverev Fights Off Nishikori’s Challenge

Challenge Zverev semifinals defeats Medvedev

Citi Open, Washington (USA)

[3] Alexander Zverev (GER) vs. [20] Kei Nishikori (JPN)

Nishikori was hoping to equal his showing from last year and Zverev was hoping to keep his hopes alive of defending his title; thus, it was bound to be a battle. In their semifinal meeting last year in Washington, Zverev won easily in straight sets; however, earlier this year, Nishikori got some revenge in Monaco.

This match was a test for the defending champion. Nishikori leads the statistics for winning the most matches in the final set and he looked sharp as the third set begun; however, Zverev is ranked number three for a reason and he broke Nishikori in the fifth game to take the lead. At 30-15, Zverev mangled an easy volley to lose the point and even the game.

Was it confidence that propelled him to attempt to volley twice, or was it anxiety that clouded his judgement? He lost both points and the pressure mounted for him to hold serve and consolidate the break. The complexity of the match changed as the rain came and play was suspended at 30-30.

Would the rain help Nishikori or would Zverev return doubly motivated to hold on to his early break lead? Zverev held serve and broke again to go up 5-2; however, Nishikori gave one last effort and broke to extend the set. Zverev fought off the late challenge. There would be no repeat of his loss in Monaco and he won 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.

Zverev will next play the teenage phenom from Greece, Stefanos Tsitsipas. This will be their first encounter. How will Zverev respond to the challenge from the NextGen star? Tsitsipas would like to upset the defending champion; however, he may find it a tad more difficult a task than the one he had today when he upset, David Goffin.

The young Greek may have the advantage in movement and volleying skills; yet, is that enough against the mental fortitude and ferocious backhand of the German?

SOURCE OF IMAGE:  serveandrally

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.