Zverev relieved after overcoming early Harris onslaught: 'He was serving incredible'

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Alexander Zverev and Lloyd Harris embrace at the net. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Alexander Zverev and Lloyd Harris embrace at the net. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Tokyo Olympic champion Alexander Zverev advanced to the US Open semi-finals on Wednesday, moving into Novak Djokovic's path as the world number one chases a calendar Grand Slam.

German fourth seed Zverev stretched his win streak to 16 matches by defeating South Africa's 46th-ranked Lloyd Harris 7-6 (8/6), 6-3, 6-4.

"It's going to be an exciting semis," Zverev promised.

Zverev, last year's US Open runner-up to now-injured Dominic Thiem, reached his fourth career Slam semi-final and finds himself matched against history-chasing Djokovic on Friday.

Djokovic moved within two matches of completing the first Grand Slam by a man since Rod Laver in 1969 with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 win over Italian sixth seed Matteo Berrettini in a rematch of July's Wimbledon final.

Djokovic, on a 26-match Slam win streak, seeks his fourth US Open title and men's record 21st career Slam trophy, which would lift him one above the mark he shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, both absent with injuries.

Zverev was excited to play before a packed house at Arthur Ashe Stadium after spectators were not allowed to attend last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Last year I won it (the semi-final) before exactly six people," Zverev said. "So it's nice to have everybody back."

Zverev swatted a forehand beyond the baseline to hand Harris a set point in the opening tie-breaker, but Harris sent two forehands long and Zverev blasted a service winner to take the set.

"He was serving incredible, in the first set especially," Zverev said. "Somehow [I] was able to win that tie-breaker and that loosened me up.

"I'm really happy to get through in three."

An unhappy Harris, who also dropped served while serving the first set at 5-3, hurled a water bottle at the court after the first set, leaving wet conditions that forced ballkids to soak up the liquid with towels, Zverev helping to wipe the lines himself.

Zverev broke Harris for a 2-0 lead in the second set and held serve from there, capturing the set on a service winner.

In the third set, Zverev broke Harris in the first and third games on the way to a 4-0 edge and finished off the match after two hours and six minutes with his 21st ace of the match.

Zverev had 43 winners to 34 by Harris while both men made 26 unforced errors. The German served 21 aces compared to Harris' 21.

Results from Wednesday's matches at the US Open (x denotes seed):

Men

Quarter-finals

Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Matteo Berrettini (ITA x6) 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3

Alexander Zverev (GER x4) bt Lloyd Harris (RSA) 7-6 (8/6), 6-3, 6-4

Women

Quarter-finals

Emma Raducanu (GBR) bt Belinda Bencic (SUI x11) 6-3, 6-4

Maria Sakkari (GRE x17) bt Karolina Pliskova (CZE x4) 6-4, 6-4

Mixed Doubles

Semi-finals

Giuliana Olmos/Marcelo Arevalo (MEX/ESA) bt Dayana Yastremska/Max Purcell (UKR/AUS) 4-6, 6-4, 10-6

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
loading... Live
Leicester City 1
Napoli 0
Voting Booth
The Springboks return to Rugby Championship action to take on the Wallabies this weekend. How will they fare?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Boks to win by plenty
17% - 1566 votes
The Boks will win, but it'll be tight
55% - 5186 votes
I reckon the Wallabies at home will get the win
20% - 1935 votes
It's too close to call!
8% - 788 votes
Vote