Coming back from two sets down to win 3-2 is a dream for Fritz as No4 seed Zverev crashes out

By Paul Lagan at Wimbledon
Centre Court

Fritz v Zverev
4-6, 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 6-3

A pulsating if a little dour five-setter saw American Taylor Fritz come from two sets down to beat No4 seed Alexander Zverev on Centre Court.
As to be expected with players with power and speed, this match had all the components of sets going to tie-breakers.
And there were two of them.
A single break was all that separated the gunslingers in the other two sets before Fritz powered out the final set as a 6-3 winner.
Neither player looked in serious danger on their serves.
But then at 4-4 Fritz had one of those moments when it all seemed to fall apart and he was 14-40 down.
A lovely cross-court forehead saved one break point.
A string of forehand shots, seemed to amuse the crowd at one point, but Zverev then opted to hit a back hand and that changed the point completely and within two strokes the No 4 seed had won the point, the game and went 5-4 up with his serve to come.
An easy game to love secured the first set for Zverev in 34 minutes.
A hint of a break on Zverev’s serve was quickly distinguished with a couple of hard-hitting first serves which secured his game.
Fritz responded with a love game.
As expected, games went with serve until we got to the obligatory tie-breaker.
Fritz aced the first point, Zverev responded with shots in the rally that had the American going from left to right like a yo-yo. The German won both his points.
Fritz saw his serve end with a good rally but the ball smashing his side of the net.
The mini-break saw Zverev serve 3-2 up. Soon it was 4-2 as Fritz’s return went long.
This was repeated to give the German a 5-2 lead. And another long shot saw set point to Zverev. A quality serve made it 6-3.
Fritz got lucky as Zverev went long, but it was still set point at 6-4, and then it was over – Zverev went two sets to love up after one hours and 24 minutes.
Fritz’s best option appeared to try the occasional drop shot, and in his opening game in the third set, he did it twice and was successful both time.
Would this tire Zverev out?
Well he saved a break point on his serve, which might indicate this bit he still recovered to win it and go 2-1 up – on serve – in the third set.
And so it went – service game held but both players – the occasional deft drop-shot winner but a litany of quality serves punctuated by the occasional quality return, but mostly the point was lost.
At 4-4 on Zverev’s serve, it looked as if tiredness might have crept up on him as he went love 30 down.
An ace reduced the deficit, but a smart low return forced a break point.
And then a double fault – leaving Fritz 5-4 up with bis serve to come.
He did not disappoint his fans and took the set to make it 2-1.
Zverev got a little annoyed when the umpire gave him a warning for exceeding the time allocated for serving when it was 2-2 in the fourth set, to the extent it fired him up a little and he won to make it 3-2.
Soon it was 4-3 with Fritz serving. Would he make the fatal mistakes?
Fritz then took a love 30 lead on Zverev’s serve with two excellent finishes to quality rallies. But The German fought back to take the game to leave Fritz serving to stay in the championships.
A net cord saved Fritz at 30-15 on his serve and he took advantage to finish the game to make it 5-5.
Now the pressure was on Zverev to hold his serve.
Despite losing the first point, Zverev easily countered and won his game to put him, again, one game from the quarter-final.
He did not falter and so it went to a tie-breaker.
Fritz got his mini-break on the first point.
An ace followed to make it 2-0. then it was 3-0. a down the line screamer saw Fritz take a 4-0 lead. Then it was 4-1. then 5-1, followed by a lovely smash to make it 6-1 and set point.
Which was saved.. then it was three set point to Fritz at 6-3.
Zverev’s shot was called out but his challenges saw that it was in.
It did not matter as Fritz completed the recovery to make it two sets all.
The third set was all about who could hang in and not make mistake – and it was Fritz who showed his stamina as he broke Zverev and eventalluly, after three and a half hours saw off the resistance of the German to win 6-3.

Pictured top: Action from Fritz v Zverev Picture by Paul Lagan

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