Zverev, Thiem win to set up French Open quarter-final

Kristopher Nichols
June 8, 2018

Lacking his usual speed and quickness, Kei Nishikori could only put up a courageous fight in a 6-2, 6-0, 5-7, 6-4 fourth-round French Open loss to Dominic Thiem on Sunday.

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While Thiem was a bundle of energy, Zverev looked somewhat worn out - as well as being troubled by his left leg - and he was a break down at 2-1 in the second after making a mess of a backhand slice.

"He's playing this year an awesome year, match after match, so I don't think and I don't expect him (to be) exhausted".

Khachanov had some chances in the second and again late in the match, but his forehand let him down.

To say that Zverev has endured a hard route to the last eight would be some understatement.

Stephens, the 10th-seeded American, also reached the last eight in Paris for the first time, beating No. 25 Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 6-2, 6-0.

Asked Sunday whether he wanted to explain what happened, Cecchinato replied in Italian: "Right now, I want to enjoy this moment. So with this [aspect], I'm really happy". He was also a French Open semi-finalist the past two years. And he's come from two sets to one down three straight times, beating Dusan Lajovic, Damir Dzumhur and now the big Russian. Thiem had clearly caught on and started to utilise the drop-shot and although Zverev was still showing plenty of pace and desire around the court, he was in some discomfort. With Zverev serving for the set at 5-4, he soon trailed 0-40.

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Zverev's opponent today, Dominic Thiem, is usually the one accused of over-playing, and I still don't believe his participation in Lyon in the week before this event - after two clay Masters - was necessary, but Thiem is in the rather unusual position of hoping to exploit the accumulated fatigue of his opponent. "I played good tennis". I want to think about the present.

"Well, I'm young, so I might as well stay on court, get some practice and entertain you guys", quipped the 21-year-old, bidding to become the first German man to win the French Open since 1937. It was his first win in three tries over the Japanese.

I was hurt a little bit. "He was hitting very deep".

Alexander Zverev feels confident ahead of the match against Dominic Thiem on Tuesday.

"I have practiced with him many times in Monte-Carlo when he was part of the Ricardo Piatti Academy team, and he trained a lot where I live". He's going to be pumped.

"First two sets were unbelievable", Thiem said. The German player is coming from three best-of-five-sets matches out of four matches played so far, but he said: 'I'm not concerned. "So I think we can make it legendary and that would be very nice", Thiem, 24, told reporters after his huge forehand helped him to destroy Japan's Nishikori.

For the former champion, though, it was not to be as he came up against the unseeded Marco Cecchinato in blistering form, and lost a gruelling and highly intense four-setter, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 1-6, 7-6 (11).

"I think this year I'm physically and mentally fresher than I have been the last two years".

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