Roland Garros: Alexander Zverev edges Frances Tiafoe in late-night show

Alexander Zverev took down Frances Tiafoe in four sets on Court Philippe-Chatrier

by Jovica Ilic
Roland Garros: Alexander Zverev edges Frances Tiafoe in late-night show

The last year's Roland Garros semi-finalist, Alexander Zverev, will play in the last 16 in Paris for the sixth straight year. The German met Frances Tiafoe on Court Philippe-Chatrier precisely a year since that terrible ankle injury in the semi-final against Rafael Nadal.

Alexander prevailed 3-6, 7-6, 6-1, 7-6 in three hours and 41 minutes, overcoming an early deficit and sealing the deal in the fourth set's closing stages to avoid a decider and secure a notable victory. The German will remain in the top-50 with these points, but he has to win more matches to stay in the top-30 after Roland Garros.

Zverev fired 13 aces and ten double faults. He played better on the first serve and kept the second safe enough despite those ten double faults. Alexander won 44% of the return points, but both scored five breaks to stay neck and neck, especially in the fourth set.

The German hit 41 winners and 46 unforced errors, taking advantage of the American's 50 unforced mistakes. Zverev had the upper hand in the shortest and mid-range rallies. He survived the rival's attacks in the fourth set and stayed calm in the decisive moments to emerge at the top.

They found the rhythm behind the initial shot early on in the opener and reached 3-3 without issues. Suddenly, Zverev netted a backhand in the seventh game to lose serve and fall 4-3 behind. Tiafoe confirmed the lead with a hold at 15 in game eight after the rival's loose forehand, forcing Zverev to serve to stay in the set.

Alexander experienced the second break after a double fault to hand the opener to Frances 6-3. The German landed a beautiful forehand down the line winner at the start of the second set for an early break. He squandered game points at 2-1 and allowed the American to pull the break back with a backhand down the line winner.

Tiafoe saved two break points in the seventh game with winners and fired an unreturned serve at 4-4 to forge another advantage.

Alexander Zverev toppled Frances Tiafoe in four sets on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Zverev served to stay in the set and produced a fine hold before creating more break points at 5-5.

Frances denied them with direct points and secured a tie break. They traded five mini-breaks before Tiafoe sprayed a backhand error in the sixth point to fall 4-2 behind. Zverev earned three set points with a forehand down the line winner at 5-3 and fired a forehand crosscourt winner on the first to level the overall score after an hour and 40 minutes.

The American pushed strong on the return at the beginning of the third set and passed the German on the fifth break point for an early lead. However, that was all we saw from him, as Alexander rattled off six straight games to control the pace.

Zverev lost only three points on the return, delivering breaks in games two, four and six to forge a 5-1 advantage. Alexander served for the set in game seven and fired a service winner to take two sets to one advantage after two hours and 19 minutes.

The fourth set started with four comfortable holds, and they were making more and more errors in the closing stages. Tiafoe saved three break points in the fifth game and survived Zverev's three game points at 4-3 to grab a break after the rival's double fault and serve for the set!

Zverev stayed focused and pulled the break back in game nine to prolong the set and avoid a decider. They served well in the next three games to introduce a tie break, a must-win one for the American. Frances moved 4-3 up after a great point at the net before dropping two points behind the initial shot.

Tiafoe drew Zverev's error in the tenth point to level the score at 5-5 and bring more drama. Alexander created a match point with a powerful serve and seized it after Frances' wild forehand for a massive victory and a place in the last 16.

Roland Garros Alexander Zverev Frances Tiafoe