Alexander Zverev advanced to his second Australian Open quarter-final, playing well in the opening four rounds to set the ultimate Novak Djokovic clash in the last eight. Despite giving his best, Alexander fell in four sets, leaving the event disappointed as he wanted to get further and fight for the trophy.
Djokovic defeated Zverev 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 in three and a half hours, advancing to his ninth Australian Open semi-final. The German gave his best to follow the rival's pace, opening an early lead in three sets and wasting a set point in the closing stages of the fourth to propel the Serb through.
Djokovic hit a double fault in the opening game to suffer a break and fended off a break point in game five to remain within one break deficit. Alexander served well in games six and eight to control the scoreboard and wasted a set point on the return in game nine when Novak forced an error.
The German served for the set and got broken a few minutes later following a backhand mistake, allowing Novak to level the score at 5-5. Alexander claimed an extended point at 6-6 in the tie break and sealed the opener with a service winner after an hour.
Zverev lost the ground a bit in set number two, spraying a backhand mistake in the opening game and finding himself 3-0 down when Djokovic painted a backhand down the line winner in game three. The Serb served well in the rest of the set and wrapped it up with an ace at 5-2 after 28 minutes.
Zverev was off to a better start in set number three, taking 13 of the opening 16 points for a 3-0 advantage. Djokovic lost serve in the second game following a double fault and wasted a break chance in game five when Zverev landed a forehand winner that kept him in front.
Alexander Zverev wants to challenge the rivals from the top in the rest of the season.
Novak smashed his racquet at the end of that game and started to play better, taking 20 of the last 26 points to rattle off five straight games and turn the tables around.
Alexander hit a double fault in the seventh game to lost serve and fell behind after netting a backhand at 4-4. Novak held at 15 in game ten to secure the set, moving one step away from the victory. Like in the previous one, the German opened a 3-0 advantage in set number four before Novak pulled the break back to stay in contention.
The Serb saved two break points at 3-4 before Zverev held at love for a 5-4 advantage. Djokovic survived the tenth game with an ace and sent the pressure to the other side of the net. Alexander hit a service winner with no signs of nerve to close the 11th game at love and created a set point in the next one with a backhand down the line winner.
Novak stayed calm and erased it with an ace, holding when Zverev netted a forehand to bring a tie break. They hit winners in the opening five points before Alexander moved 5-4 up with an ace down the T line. Novak won the next two points on serve for a match point that Alexander saved for more drama.
Djokovic scored a mini-break in the 13th point and sealed the deal with an ace for his ninth Australian Open semi-final. "I thought I showed very good tennis, but somewhere it was also a disappointing trip for me. In my career now, I am where I no longer want to play good tournaments and matches, but I want to win.
Unfortunately, I didn't do that here. The Australian summer showed that I can compete and beat the rivals from the top. I take a lot of positive things with me. But all in all, it was disappointing that I was out in the quarter-finals, even though it was against the world's best player," Alexander Zverev said.