Third seed Alexander Zverev recovered from some lapses of concentration and an erratic serve to beat Spain’s Bernabe Zapata Miralles 7-6(11) 7-5 6-3 on Sunday and move into the French Open last eight.
The German had to save three set points in the first set and come back from 4-2 down and 15-40 on his own serve in the second while also hitting seven double faults in a rollercoaster performance.
“He was driving me nuts,” Zverev said. “He is one of the fastest players. I felt every return was put on the baseline.”
“We played three sets but we played three hours. There were some holes in my concentration but it was a good match. I had a bit of a downfall and I let him into the match, these things happened. I am happy I am through in three sets”.
The 25-year-old Zverev, long touted as a potential Grand Slam winner, twice broke the 131st-ranked Spaniard, who had never made it past round two in a Grand Slam prior to Paris, to charge 4-1 in front.
He looked to be cruising through his fourth round match but dropped his guard to give his opponent the opening he was looking for.
Zverev was 4-1, 40-0 up on his own serve but baseliner Zapata Miralles launched a comeback, dragging the rallies out and battling back to break the German twice before wasting three set points in the tiebreak.
Zverev also squandered three of his own before finally winning it on the fourth opportunity, but he was again broken at the start of the second set, dropping his racquet to the ground and looking to his player box for answers.
He did bounce back, though, despite being 5-2 down in the second but his serve, slower due to the chilly temperatures, meant he failed to hold any service game until midway through the third set.
He next faces either Karen Khachanov or teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz in what could be an evening session.
“It’s 12 degrees outside. It’s very difficult to get the ball past 200 km an hour, which I usually don’t have problems with,” Zverev said.
“I don’t mind the evening sessions when it’s 30 degrees during the day. When it’s 14 degrees like today then in the night it’s going to be what, eight, nine – it gets difficult.”
“My serve is going to be even slower, my forehand is going to be even slower. It’s not going to be an easy thing for me to play at 9.30 at night.”