Alexander Zverev didn't have things all his own way on Wednesday, but he stepped up when needed to reach the semi-finals at the French Open for the third consecutive season.In a heavy-hitting baseline battle against Tomas Martin Etcheverry, Zverev overcame an attacking bombardment from the Argentine to triumph 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Court Philippe-Chatrier.
"The conditions during the day are a lot better for me. The ball is a lot faster and bounces higher. I love to play on clay and day conditions are better... I am in the semi-finals at Roland Garros and I am happy about that," Zverev said.
"The 5-4 game [in the fourth set] was incredible from both of us. He was hitting the ball extremely hard and I was hitting the ball extremely hard. At the end of the day I think I deserved to win," he added.
With his three-hour, 22-minute win, the German improved to 28-7 at the clay-court major, while he climbed four spots to No. 23 in the ATP Live Rankings. Zverev will continue the quest for his maiden major title when he meets Casper Ruud or Holger Rune on Friday.
On the other hand, Etcheverry, who advanced to finals on clay in Santiago and Houston earlier this year, was competing in his first major quarter-final. The 23-year-old did not drop a set en route to the last eight and played with aggression against Zverev, unleashing on the forehand to trouble the German.
After the first two sets were split, Zverev began to find his rhythm. From 0-2 down in the third set, the German reeled off five straight games to take control. He struck 12 winners in the set and moved forward effectively to win 86 per cent (12/14) of net points. Zverev then was then consistent in the fourth, limiting errors off his backhand wing and saving all four break points he faced to earn his 21st win of the season and 13th on clay.
Zverev, who will compete in his sixth major semi-final on Friday, suffered a right ankle injury against Rafael Nadal in the last four in Paris in 2022. After a six-month recuperation period, the 26-year-old returned to Tour in January and has slowly regained his level.
He reached the fourth round at ATP Masters 1000 events in Madrid and Rome before he arrived in Paris last week off the back of a semi-final run in Geneva.Aiming to win his first title since the Nitto ATP Finals in 2021, the 22nd seed has made further progress this fortnight, defeating seeds Frances Tiafoe and Grigor Dimitrov.
Etcheverry had never won a match at Roland Garros prior to this year, but announced himself by defeating Jack Draper, Alex de Minaur, Borna Coric and Yoshihito Nishioka in Paris. The 23-year-old is up 18 spots to No. 31 in the ATP Live Rankings following his run. He reached a career-high No. 46 last month.