After a miserable run in the bigger part of the first four and a half months, the ATP Finals champion has finally found at least some kind of form in Geneva just ahead of Roland Garros, lifting the first trophy of the season.
Flying under the radar in Paris, the young German has won four matches to reach the second Grand Slam quarter-final, repeating his success from 12 months ago and defending the points to stay ahead of Stefanos Tsitsipas on the ATP rankings list.
In the fourth round clash, Alexander took down Monte Carlo champion Fabio Fognini 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 in two hours and 55 minutes, celebrating the 29th win at the level and setting the quarter-final duel with world no. 1 Novak Djokovic.
Firing 14 aces and 12 doubles faults (some of those in crucial moments), Alexander repelled seven out of nine break points and had 34 winners and unforced errors to tame his shots more efficiently than in the previous events on clay this spring.
Fabio was unable to match that pace, landing 41 winners but also 53 unforced errors, playing against 13 break points and suffering five breaks, four in sets two and three when he performed beyond his usual level due to a leg injury.
The Italian saved three break points in the opening game of the match, breaking Alexander at love in game two after a double fault from the German. Tables turned in game five when Zverev broke at love following a double fault from his rival but he stayed on the positive side of the scoreboard only until game eight when a loose forehand cost him service games, allowing Fabio to secure the opener with a hold at love in game nine for a 6-3.
Ready to give his everything, Alexander repelled four break points in the fifth game of the second set and moved ahead with a break in the next game when Fognini netted a backhand, confirming the lead with a nice hold and closing the set with a forehand down the line winner for another break and a 6-2.
With the momentum on his side, Alexander delivered another break in the fourth game of the third set with a running forehand down the line winner, clinching the set after a double fault from Fabio at 2-5 for another dominant part of the match and a step closer to the place in the quarters.
With no room for errors, the Italian found an extra gear in the fourth set, fending off two break points in the second game and serving well in the remaining games to set up a tie break after missing a break point at 5-5.
Zverev forged a 6-3 advantage in the breaker and converted the third match point at 6-5 when Fabio sprayed a forehand error, celebrating one of the most important wins of the season and preparing for a much harder obstacle in the name of Novak Djokovic in the next round.