Zverev, Thiem win to set up French Open quarter-final

Zverev, Thiem win to set up French Open quarter-final

"Me and my brother (Mischa) are guys that spend three, four hours a day in the gym, lifting heavy weights, on the treadmill".

His victory over 26th seed Dzumhur was his first in a Grand Slam against a player ranked in the top 40 and his win over Russian youngster Khachanov meant he finally reached the last eight of a major at the 12th attempt.

The talent of Zverev has never been in doubt, but questions were rightly asked over the past 12 months of how much belief he possessed at the crunch moments on the sport's biggest stage.

Schwartzman-esque fightbacks are nothing new for Alexander Zverev, who has come back from 2-1 down in sets in his last three rounds to win deciding sets, and his court time is hugely in excess compared to his other rivals still in the competition. But the German player also showed, once again, that he knows how to dig deep when it matters.

But the greater power of Keys paid dividends in the breaker, as the American finally took the opener on her fourth set point with her 18th victor.

The 24-year-old Thiem leads 4-2 overall against Zverev, but lost to him last month in the Madrid Masters final.

"But I hope I can win more matches here". He finished with 42 unforced errors and just 19 winners.

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He followed up a wickedly spinning sublime backhand drop with another rasping one-handed backhand victor after saving a break point to lead 5-1 and sealing a crushing win with a straightforward backhand into an open court. The Austrian began his tournament by defeating Ilya Ivashka of Belarus in straight sets 6-2 6-4 6-1.

The eagerly anticipated match between two of the game's young stars lasted just one hour and 50 minutes, with Thiem prevailing 6-4 6-2 6-1 on the Philippe Chatrier Court.

He has a 4-2 career lead over Zverev and perhaps more significantly, has won three of the four matches they have contested on clay. Their match was suspended at 3-3 in the second set.

The American is yet to drop a set in Paris and will either meet Russia's Daria Kasatkina or compatriot and close friend Sloane Stephens for a rematch of last year's US Open final.

Alexander Zverev made his long awaited first grand slam quarterfinal, and no one can say the German did it the easy way. "I'll get myself ready for that", he said. Thiem's first sign of frailty came in the next game when an under-cooked dropshot and double-fault offered Zverev the chance to break back but the Austrian won a superb rally with both players at the net. That left the Austrian facing a hard challenge in Nishikori, but Thiem made fairly light work of it to again win in four sets, 6-2 6-0 5-7 6-4.

While Zverev still has time to make his mark at the highest level, Thiem wants to do better right now as he is almost 25 and feels that two French Open semi-finals in 2016 and 2017 might not be enough to quench his thirst.

"I thought I played pretty solid", Stephens said. Stephens beat Keys in the U.S. Open final last September, and Thursday's rematch will be the first all-American women's semifinal at the French Open since Serena Williams defeated Jennifer Capriati in 2002.

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