World number 4 Alexander Zverev notched his 51st victory of the season, beating his good friend and juniors doubles partner Andrey Rublev by 6-2 6-3 in 70 minutes. This was their second meeting after Monte Carlo 2016 and Zverev won all 4 sets easily, outplaying his rival from the baseline with deeper and stronger groundstrokes, but Andrey will for sure have his chances to beat the German in the upcoming years, as they are the future of tennis.
Zverev hit 9 aces and he played well on serve, losing focus only in the 7th game of the second set while serving for the match, getting broken after 7 break points that Rublev created. On the other hand, Russian was unable to follow that pace on his serve, finishing the match with no aces and losing half of the points in his games, getting broken 4 times from 5 opportunities he gave to Alexander.
The match started with 3 easy holds and it was Zverev who drew first blood, breaking in game 4 for a 3-1 lead after a double fault from Andrey. German lost just 5 points on serve in the entire set and that gave him room to push harder on the return as well, closing the set with a break at love in game 8, after just 24 minutes.
The second set saw more exciting games, with deuces and break points. Rublev struggled to make an impact on his serve and to move Zverev from the comfort zone with his first groundstroke, and he got broken in game 4 when he hit a wild forehand that landed way behind the baseline, which made him even more frustrated.
Sascha scored another break in game 6 to move 5-1 ahead after just 51 minutes, outplaying his friend with deep and strong shots from both wings that Andrey had no answer for. Serving for the match, Zverev lost his concentration (which is not strange after such a huge lead) and he lost serve after an 11-minute game and 7 break points for the Russian, the only he created in the entire match.
Next time around Alexander was ready to wrap up the win and avoid further struggle, holding at 15 in game 9 to grab his 51st triumph of the season, ending Andrey's run with a smash winner. Nick Kyrgios will face Zverev in the semis after winning his 30th match of the season in just 30 minutes, as Steve Darcis was forced to retire, losing the opening 9 games of the match! These two have met 3 weekends ago in Davis Cup semi-final, with Kyrgios prevailing in 5 sets, and he had a much easier job today, firing 12 aces and losing 7 points in 5 service games.
Steve struggled with a neck injury and he missed a lot of basic shots, especially from his backhand. Belgian took a medical timeout after the 5th game but the neck massage didn't help him much and he lost his serve again in game 6 to drop the set after 21 minutes.
Nick continued to play well and he won 12 out of 15 points in the second set when Steve opted to call it a day, unable to compete any longer. Quarter-final results: