September 5, 2020
Alexander Zverev may be starting to think that being knocked out of the previous tournament by Andy Murray wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
The British favourite gave Zverev a wake-up call in the Western and Southern Open at the same venue last week.
The statuesque “Sascha” still isn’t quite firing on all cylinders. But he is looking increasingly impressive at the US Open.
There were one or two familiar problems with the German’s serve in the opening set.
But Zverev soon got into his stride to triumph over Adrian Mannarino 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.
His rival and fellow tennis “rock star” Stefanos Tsitsipas didn’t fair so well.
The Greek will want to forget this nightmare exit from the US Open in a hurry. But it may come back to haunt him.
Poor Stefanos was 5-1 up in the fourth and squandered six match points before going out in five sets.
Borna Coric refused to be beaten and finally prevailed 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-4) in a genuine epic.
If Tsitsipas learns from this painful Grand Slam experience, all the better.
We want Zverev and Tsitsipas to go deep at Wimbledon 2021. They’re great for our sport.
And it is only natural we support the British players too, though.
Sadly, the impressive campaigns fought by Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans came to an end before the second week at Flushing Meadows.
Both Brits may feel they should have progressed further.
Norrie had chances to take control in the third set against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
But the Spaniard showed more quality when it mattered to win 7-6 (7-2), 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.
Meanwhile Evans also had his opportunities in the conclusion of a match delayed overnight due to rain.
He yelled in frustration as his anticipated progression slipped from his grasp.
In a feisty clash between two volatile players, it was Corentin Moutet who went through 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-1).
But Evans and Norrie can still be proud of their promising 2020 so far.
Look out for a great run from both players at Wimbledon 2021.
One thing that never seems to change is the remarkable form of Novak Djokovic.
He has done nothing but win all year. The ruthless Serb’s latest victim was German journeyman Jan-Lennard Struff.
Novak marched on 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 and still looks overwhelming favourite for the title.
Dominic Thiem, among others, will still feel they can cause an upset.