Tennis

French Open: Alexander Zverev resilient in reaching 1st Grand Slam quarter-final

Second-seeded Alexander Zverev has reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final the hard way, beating Karen Khachanov 4-6, 7-6 (4), 2,6, 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday for his third straight comeback win in five sets.

No. 2 seed outlasts Russia's Karen Khachanov for 3rd consecutive comeback victory

Germany's Alexander Zverev celebrates winning the fourth set during Sunday's fourth-round match against Karen Khachanov of Russia at Roland Garros in Paris. Zverev prevailed 4-6, 7-6 (4), 2,6, 6-3, 6-3 for his third straight comeback win. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Second-seeded Alexander Zverev has reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final the hard way, beating Karen Khachanov 4-6, 7-6 (4), 2,6, 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday for his third straight comeback win in five sets.

The latest gritty victory came with the usual temper flare-ups from Zverev. But the German player also showed, once again, that he knows how to dig deep when it matters. In all three of his five-setters at Roland Garros he has trailed 2-1 in sets.

"I'm young. I might as well stay on court and entertain you guys," the 21-year-old Zverev joked with the crowd in Paris. "This definitely paid off, the hours in the gym every day … Everything comes together slowly and I'm happy to be here."

Zverev says he spends up to four hours each day working on weights and fitness in the gym.

French Open Day 8 Wrap: Alexander Zverev advances to 1st Grand Slam quarter-final

5 years ago
Duration 1:46
Day 8 saw rising stars Zverev, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys advance to the French Open quarter-final, along with 2016 champion Novak Djokovic.

He might well need to up that schedule considering his quarter-final opponent is No. 7 Dominic Thiem of Austria, who is one of the fittest players on the men's circuit and has reached the past two semifinals at Roland Garros.

Thiem beat No. 19 Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-2, 6-0, 5-7, 6-4 on Court Philippe Chatrier. He missed an easy forehand on his first match point, biting down on his fingers in frustration. He converted on his next chance when Nishikori's looping return landed long.

Nishikori won just 14 points in the first set and nine in the second, losing to Thiem for the first time.

On Court Suzanne Lenglen, Zverev's smash at the net gave him match point, which he took when Khachanov netted a forehand.

Zverev sank to his knees in celebration. He then patted Khachanov, a friend from their junior days, sympathetically on the chest before pumping his arms in celebration.

Dabrowski into mixed doubles quarter-finals

Ottawa's Gabriela Dabrowski and Croatia's Mate Pavic cruised into the quarter-finals of the mixed doubles tournament with a 6-2, 6-3 win over France's Eduoard Roger-Vasselin and Andrea Sestini Hlavackova of the Czech Republic on Sunday.

The top-seeded pair of Dabrowski and Pavic finished off their opponents in just 55 minutes, firing five aces and converting three of five break point opportunities.

Pavic and Dabrowski will face Demi Schuurs and Matwe Middelkoop of the Netherlands in Monday's quarter-finals.

Dabrowski won the mixed doubles title in Paris last year with India's Rohan Bopanna. She also won the Australian Open mixed title this year with Pavic.

Dabrowski will also return to women's doubles action Monday when she teams with China's Yifan Xu for a third-round match against the Japanese duo of Makoto Ninomiya and Eri Hozumi.

Djokovic to play 40th Grand Slam quarter-final

Novak Djokovic matched Roger Federer's mark of reaching nine consecutive quarter-finals at Roland Garros by beating No. 30 seed Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

It's also Djokovic's 12th career trip to the round of eight in Paris, a record for the 50-year professional era. Djokovic advanced to his 40th Grand Slam quarter-final.

Rafael Nadal can pull even with a 12th French Open quarter-final, too, by winning on Monday.

The straightforward victory for 2016 French Open champion Djokovic was his 200th career tour-level win on clay.

Venus, Serena Williams eliminated

The Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, are out of the French Open doubles tournament.

The third-seeded pairing of Andreja Klepac and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez beat the Americans 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-0 to advance to the quarter-finals.

Serena Williams plays Maria Sharapova on Monday for a place in the women's singles quarter-finals.

Americans Keys, Stephens advance

In women's singles, 13th-seeded Madison Keys and fellow American Sloane Stephens reached the quarter-finals for the first time at Roland Garros.

Keys beat No. 31 Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania 6-1, 6-4 while Stephens, the U.S. Open champion in 2017,  blew past Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 6-2, 6-0 in just 52 minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier. Stephens had stalled in the fourth round on four previous occasions.

Later on Lenglen, Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki — seeded second — had a tough-looking fourth-round match against Daria Kasatkina. The 14th-seeded Russian has beaten her twice this year.

On the men's side, Novak Djokovic was facing Fernando Verdasco on Court Philippe Chatrier, where he won the last of his 12 major titles in 2016.

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