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Tennis • Zverev Continues London Quest By Beating Red-Hot Basilashvili, Del Potro Also Wins In Shanghai

Alexander Zverev of Germany in action against Malek Jaziri from Tunisia during their men's singles second round match at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing, China, 04 October 2018. EPA-EFE/ROMAN PILIPEY
Alexander Zverev of Germany in action against Malek Jaziri from Tunisia during their men’s singles second round match at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing, China, 04 October 2018.  EPA-EFE/ROMAN PILIPEY

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

Alexander Zverev’s qualification for the Nitto ATP Finals is inevitable, but each victory moves him closer and closer to official clinching. Zverev picked up his 47th win of the season in particularly impressive fashion during second-round action at the Shanghai Masters on Wednesday, when he ended the hot streak of Beijing champion Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-5, 6-4.

 

The 21-year-old German fired 12 aces without double-faulting and broke Basilashvili three times to advance in one hour and 31 minutes.

 

“I played alright,” Zverev assessed. “I played a solid match. I did everything that I needed to win; focused a lot–focused on my game. As you can probably hear in my voice, I’m a little sick right now; feeling a little bit low energy, but I hope it will get better over the next few days.”

 

He will have to get better in a hurry, because tough opponent Alex de Minaur awaits the No. 4 seed on Thursday.

 

“He’s had a fantastic year,” Zverev said of the Australian, who is headed for the NextGen ATP Finals in Milan. “He’s nearly top 30 and obviously playing great tennis, as well. I played him twice this year–once was a very tough match in Davis Cup, which went to a very long five sets, (and) the other one was in the Washington final where I played great. Obviously, it’s not going to be an easy match, especially on this surface. I’m looking forward to it.”

 

Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina in action during the men's singles final match against Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing, China, 07 October 2018.  EPA-EFE/WU HONG

Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina in action during the men’s singles final match against Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing, China, 07 October 2018. EPA-EFE/WU HONG

Zverev, who is two wins away from mathematically clinching a London spot, is looking to join Juan Martin Del Potro at the O2 Arena. The Argentine was the most recent player to clinch a berth, which he did last week in Beijing with a runner-up performance. Del Potro maintained his outstanding current form by beating Richard Gasquet 7-5, 7-6(7) on Wednesday in Shanghai.

 

“It wasn’t easy to play for me today,” said Del Potro, who was under the weather in Beijing. “I did what I could; I didn’t run too much. But I think I played with all my strength in the important moments of the match.

 

“I got lucky that I won, but tomorrow will be a different day. If I have a good night today and I have a good recovery tomorrow morning, maybe I will feel a little bit better for tomorrow night and play better than today. But I’m going like hour by hour and see how I’m feeling.

 

“I’ve qualified very early for London, which is good for me.”

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @TennGrand.

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