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Germans Tennis Stars Zverev and Struff Take The Scenic Route In French Open 2019

Alexander Zverev of Germany plays Dusan Lajovic of Serbia during their men’s third round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 01 June 2019. EPA-EFE/YOAN VALAT



By Ricky Dimon


Alexander Zverev continues to take the scenic route at Grand Slams. Of course, for him taking any route at all to the second week is–pun intended–a major victory.


Zverev battled through his second five-setter of this fortnight, holding off Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 1-6, 6-2 during third-round action on Saturday afternoon. The German previously outlasted John Millman in five before making straight-set work of Mikael Ymer in round two.


A quarterfinalist at Roland Garros last season, Zverev has never been to the semis of a slam and this marks just his fourth trip to the fourth round (he also made appearances in the last 16 at Wimbledon in 2017 and earlier this year in Australia).


“(There is) not less pressure; just…I think I have been talked about less, which is a very nice thing,” the world No. 5 explained. “People talk about obviously Rafa, Novak, and all those guys, but (Stefanos) Tsitsipas much, much more, which is, for me, very nice. He deserves to have a lot of credit and also how he’s been playing has been great. So it kind of takes away attention from me a little bit, and for me this is a very nice thing to have.”


What’s also nice to have is Zverev’s record in French Open fifth sets, which is now 5-0–with all five such wins coming in 2018 and 2019.


“I don’t think I have ever lost in five sets here,” the 22-year-old stated. “It’s a good thing to have in the back of your head. Hopefully I can continue this run. We’ll see how it goes. They didn’t explain me the rules of five sets yet, so somebody needs to tell me I don’t necessarily need to play five sets every time I step on the court.”


All jokes aside, the Germans are doing work so far in Paris. Zverev is often left on his own now that Tommy Haas is retired and Philipp Kohlschreiber is seemingly past his prime, but the fifth seed is joined in the second week this time around by compatriot Jan-Lennard Struff.


In the midst of by far his best season on tour, the 29-year-old Struff survived a 4-6, 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(1), 11-9 marathon against Borna Coric that lasted four hours and 22 minutes.


Next up for Struff is world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, while Zverev awaits Fabio Fognini.


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

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