German tennis star Alexander Zverev says Novak Djokovic of Serbia is the world No. 1 for a reason as he admitted that it was tough for him after blowing a great chance to secure the opening set of his French Open quarterfinal meeting against the Serb.
World No. 5 Zverev broke top-seeded Djokovic in the ninth game to take a 5-4 first-set lead but the Serb then stormed back as he broke the German twice in a row to steal the opener. 15-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic then routinely finished off Zverev as he broke the German twice in each of the following two sets to win 7-5 6-2 6-2 and to set up a semi-final meeting against Austrian Dominic Thiem.
"I had chances in the first set but he broke back and was in control," Zverev said post-match, per AFP. "When he's in control, he's tough to beat. He's the number one for a reason. "I expected more from this tournament but once the first set slipped away, it was difficult."
At the end of the first set, the chair umpire called a Zverev shot out -- but Djokovic overuled it before he got broken. "It was great sportsmanship obviously. Not a lot of guys would have done that, especially at such an important moment in the first set. He's a great guy for doing that," Zverev said, per George Bellshaw.