Alexander Zverev grabbed his racket bag in frustration and crept out of the Margaret Court Arena, badly beaten – the dream of the first Grand Slam triumph has once again burst for the Olympic champion. The German number one surprisingly missed the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on a completely used day.
The 24-year-old was 3: 6, 6: 7 (5: 7), 3: 6 in the round of 16 duel against Canadian Denis Shapovalov and was unable to polish up his fatal record against top players in Grand Slam tournaments. Zverev has only won one of the past eight matches against top 20 professionals.
“Right from the start there was no body tension, no aggressiveness, no dynamics in Zverev’s game,” said “Eurosport” expert Boris Becker.
The defeat is a serious setback for the highly ambitious Zverev. After gold in Tokyo and victory at the ATP Finals in Turin, he wanted to reach the next milestones of his career in Melbourne – the first triumph at a major and number one in the world rankings, both of which were within reach due to the absence of Novak Djokovic.
But instead of Zverev, Shapovalov now meets the 20-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal from Spain in the round of eight, who after Djokovic’s forced departure next to US Open winner Daniil Medvedev (Russia / No. 2). the hottest title contenders.
Zverev got a false start
The experts also had Zverev on their list. He went into his fourth match in Melbourne as a favorite but was warned at the same time. Shapovalov is a player “of a higher level” than his previous opponents, said the world number three, who had won four of the previous six meetings. But there was no sign of dominance on Sunday.
At 33 degrees in the shade, Zverev got off to a major false start. After two missed break chances in the first game of the match, hardly anything came together and Shapovalov dictated what happened in the first set. “He plays too passively and is too far behind the baseline. He only reacts and doesn’t act,” said Becker. Shortly thereafter, Zverev vented his frustration on his racket after the next break to make it 0-1 in the second set.
The top German player seemed inhibited as the second half progressed, but Shapovalov suddenly began to ponder and made mistakes after mistakes. Zverev made a break to make it 5: 3, but immediately gave the advantage back and was also the weaker player in the tie-break.
“What I miss now is the rearing up,” said Becker. But Zverev’s body language did not reveal anything good at the beginning of the third sentence. Nothing fit together and he had to give up his hopes for new exploits after 2:21 hours of play.