2020 in Review: Alexander Zverev downs junior doubles partner Andrey Rublev



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2020 in Review: Alexander Zverev downs junior doubles partner Andrey Rublev

Heading to the Australian Open with three ATP Cup losses under his belt and no confidence, Alexander Zverev found the form in the best moment, beating four rivals in straight sets for the first quarter-final in Melbourne.

The 22-year-old wasn't among the favorites when the tournament kicked off, struggling to find his best tennis throughout the last season and the beginning of the new one, also embracing a terrible 1-8 score against the rivals from the top-20 at Majors.

That all changed on Monday at Melbourne Arena. The German defeated his junior doubles partner and coeval Andrey Rublev 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, setting the quarter-final clash with a former champion Stan Wawrinka. The encounter lasted for an hour and 37 minutes, and Zverev had the upper hand against the rival who rattled off 15 straight victories before this encounter, already winning two ATP titles in 2020.

Still, Rublev couldn't find the answer against the opponent who did just about everything right, hitting 34 winners and 23 unforced errors and never facing a break point, mounting the pressure on the other side of the net.

Landing 75% of the first serve in, Alexander dropped nine points behind the initial shot and converted three out of seven break opportunities for one successful return game in each set, enough to propel him over the finish line.

With 17 winners and 24 unforced errors, Rublev couldn't find his usual level, trailing all the time and finishing his fantastic streak in the fourth round.

Alexander Zverev defeated Andrey Rublev to sail into the Melbourne quarter-final.

The opening set saw nine comfortable holds and one loose service game that cost Rublev the set and early momentum.

They needed 16 minutes to wrap up the opening six games before Alexander found the range on the return, earning a break at 15 when Andrey's drop shot failed to reach the net. The German cemented the advantage with a service winner a few minutes later, closing the first part of the encounter at 5-4 when Rublev sprayed a backhand error.

The Russian sent a forehand wide at the beginning of the second set to suffer a break at love. The German confirmed the advantage with an ace and barely lost a point on serve in the rest of the set, securing it with a hold at love in game ten to open two sets to love advantage in less than an hour.

Zverev stood strong behind the initial shot in the third set, creating break chances in games five, seven and nine to keep Andrey under constant pressure. Rublev erased the first four break points before Zverev seized the fifth following a forehand mistake from his opponent, moving over the top with a volley winner at 5-4 to reach the third Major quarter-final.