Top-ranked German tennis player Alexander Zverev wants to win it all in front of his home fans in Cologne but he admits it won't be easy. Zverev, ranked at No. 7 in the world, handed a straight-set defeat to rising Spanish star Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-5 7-6 (3) in the first Cologne semifinal.
In the second Cologne semifinal, world No. 22 Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated No. 2 seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3 1-6 6-3. "I want to go one step further. It's nice to be playing in Germany as well," Zverev said, per the ATP website.
"It's going to be a difficult final no matter who I play. I'm looking forward to it."
Zverev praised Davidovich Fokina
En route to making the US Open final, Zverev demolished Davidovich Fokina in the round-of-16 6-2 6-2 6-1.
More than a month later, Davidovich Fokina performed much better against Zverev. "He played much better tennis and I think he's somebody who is going to go up the [FedEx ATP] Rankings very quickly," Zverev said.
"For me he's a great guy as well. He's very talented, extremely good with the hands. I think he's somebody who's going to find his way up and it's going to be interesting to see what the future weeks [hold for him] this year and next year as well."
Elsewhere, No. 3 seed Andrey Rublev came from a set down against Denis Shapovalov in the St. Petersburg Open semifinal to win 4-6 6-3 6-4 and reach his first final at the Russian ATP 250 event. "The match was unreal, in my opinion,” Rublev said after the match.
“The level was high from both sides. Both of us deserved to win. Shapovalov was leading and he had break point in the second set, so everything could [have] been in two sets for him… One or two points decided the match and today it was for me”.
The key moment of the match was the fourth game of the second set, in which Rublev saved three consecutive game points, before claiming his first break of the match. "In that game [at 1-2], he was 40/0 up and he went to take a risk,” Rublev said.
“He went for a hard second serve and he missed [by] a little bit… When you are 40/0 up and then suddenly out of nowhere it is deuce, it is not easy. He started to feel pressure… When he gave me this opportunity, I used it”.