#NextGenATP German Alexander Zverev will play in the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time this fortnight at The Championships. The 20-year-old right-hander secured his spot in the fourth round on Saturday with a straightforward 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 victory against Austrian qualifier Sebastian Ofner on No. 2 Court.
Zverev had reached the third round of a Grand Slam on three prior occasions – last year’s Roland Garros (l. Dominic Thiem) and Wimbledon (l. Tomas Berdych) and the Australian Open earlier this year (l. Rafael Nadal). But the celebrated 6’6” right-hander broke through on Saturday when he displayed the level of tennis that helped him crack the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings in May.
Zverev, now No. 12, pressured Ofner’s serve throughout the match, seeing 15 break points and converting seven of them. Zverev also approached the net with ease, winning 13 of his 17 net points.
He enters the second week in good shape to improve upon his best showing at a Grand Slam yet. Zverev has won all nine sets he’s played and has effectively limited his time spent on court. On Saturday, he needed only 92 minutes to move past Ofner, who hadn’t won a tour-level match before his Wimbledon run.
“I feel good. I think it shows on court that I feel well. I think I’m playing better and better every match I play. I feel quite well from the baseline, serving good, returning. Today I returned very, very well. I’m happy with the way I’m playing,” Zverev said.
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“I think being in the fourth round is something very special. But I have got to look forward to the next match, try to prepare the best I can. I’m playing against Milos, who I played in Rome. Hopefully I can take a little bit out of that match, but obviously this is a completely different surface and different circumstances. I’m going to be prepared as well as I can,” Zverev said.
Before Zverev had clinched the win, Raonic said he looked forward to playing the #NextGenATP star on the grass. Zverev beat Raonic on clay two months ago en route to his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.
“I’d like the opportunity,” Raonic said. “He’s made good strides over the last few years, especially over the last 16 months, with his game. I definitely would like to play him on grass.”
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Ramos-Vinolas had beaten Raonic the last time they played, during the fourth round of the 2016 Roland Garros. But Raonic relented little during his service games on No. 1 Court. The 2016 finalist (l. to Andy Murray) struck 21 aces, won 83 per cent of his service points and didn’t face a single break point during the two-hour and 21-minute victory.
“I did a lot of things well today. I was efficient on my serve, created a bunch of opportunities. I started getting better and better there. Maybe at the beginning I wasn’t controlling the situation enough. But as the match went on, I felt like I was dictating more so from the baseline,” Raonic said.