The eight-time champion Novak Djokovic and the last year's semi-finalist Alexander Zverev will compete for the final four in Melbourne on Tuesday. It will be their eighth encounter on the Tour, with Djokovic seeking the sixth and Alexander the third victory, the first since the ATP Finals title match in 2018.
Both players are not at their best ahead of the quarter-final clash, struggling with an abdominal injury and taking painkillers to survive the best-of-five encounters and remain on the title course. Zverev lost the opening set against Marcos Giron in the first round and stood three points away from falling two sets to love down before shifting into a higher gear to seal the deal in four sets.
After that, the German defeated Maxime Cressy, Adrian Mannarino and Dusan Lajovic in straight sets, spending just under nine hours on the court and preserving energy for the most formidable possible opponent.
Alexander Zverev shared his thoughts about the upcoming Novak Djokovic clash.
Djokovic is the most successful player in the modern Australian Open history, lifting eight trophies and never losing after passing the quarter-final round!
The Serb had to work a lot to pass Taylor Fritz and Milos Raonic, playing nine sets and spending over six hours on the court in those two matches, struggling with an injury that reduced his training sessions and raised many concerns over the last couple of days.
Novak couldn't train on Monday, and it should be interesting to see how much energy he has in his body ahead of another tricky opponent. Zverev said it is one of the most challenging tasks to beat Djokovic in the latter stages of the Australian Open, as he plays his best tennis on Rod Laver Arena.
"You've got to play your best tennis, especially here - this is Novak's favorite court and tournament. To have a chance against him, you have to play extremely well, with an aggressive approach that would take the control out of him.
I'm looking forward to the challenge. Facing Novak in the Australian Open closing stages is one of the most difficult tasks in our sport. I had two of my biggest wins against him in the Rome final and London, but the other matches were extremely tough.
We've played twice in the last few months, in London and at the ATP Cup, which was an extremely close match that could have gone both ways; I think he would say the same thing. It's always a very physical match and always involves a lot of movement. You have to move extremely well to stand a chance against him," Alexander Zverev said.
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