Alexander Zverev makes a backhand return to Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka. Picture: AP Photo/Andy Brownbill
Alexander Zverev makes a backhand return to Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka. Picture: AP Photo/Andy Brownbill

‘It feels awesome’: German ace surges into semis

ALEXANDER Zverev is through to his first grand slam semi-final after fighting back from a first-set snooze to storm past Stan Wawrinka in their quarter-final.

The No.7 seed was caught napping in the opening set against the Swiss three-time grand slam champion, who raced to a 6-1 lead on Rod Laver Arena.

But the German hit back to advance to the semi-finals with a four-set victory 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 and will face the winner of the clash between No.1 seed Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem.

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Zverev has previously reached the quarter-finals twice at the French Open, but said it was the major breakthrough he had been craving to take the next step at a grand slam.

 

"It feels awesome, I don't know what to say, I've done well in other tournaments … but I never could break that barrier in a grand slam and I'm happy to be in the semi-finals," Zverev said.

"Stan played a great match, a great tournament beating Daniil Medvedev last match in five sets and I honestly don't know what to say.

"You guys cannot imagine what this means to me and I hope this will be the first of many."

Struggling with his serve and other aspects of his game, Zverev admitted he overcame a crisis of confidence coming into the Australian Open.

"I worked very hard on it (my serve), I worked a lot on it. You can kind of see it in the ATP Cup, it was horrible, but this is a grand slam and this is where you are supposed to play your best tennis," he said.

Alexander Zverev hopes this will be teh first ogf many semi-final appearances in grand slams. Picture: Hannah Peters/Getty Images
Alexander Zverev hopes this will be teh first ogf many semi-final appearances in grand slams. Picture: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

"I am doing that. I've been struggling not only with my serve, but everything else as well, my forehand, my backhand, my volleys, my drop shot, my slice, my return … waking up in the mornings, everything, it was not only my serve."

Looking ahead to his potential semi-final opponent, Zverev said he was just hoping for a long and tiring match.

"I will have a cold glass of Coke, sit back in my hotel room with AC hopefully watching them play for six hours and hopefully they will get as tired as they can," he said.

"That's my assessment of that match."

After Wawrinka raced to a 5-0 lead in the first set, Zverev admitted he had feared the worst after struggling to adjust to the pace of the ball during the day after playing at night.

"I was getting ready to talk to the press why I lost in straight sets to be honest," he said.

"Then it kind of turned around and my energy picked up a little bit, Stan came out firing. I was not quite used to his ball because I always played at night which was much colder and his ball was much quicker than the previous matches that I played against my opponents and I needed a set to get used to it.

"Thank God it all turned out well."


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