Alexander Zverev started March strong and ended his month with a vengeance. And the 19-year-old German, ranked World No. 20 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, notched a few career milestones along the way.
Continuing his stranglehold on the Emirates ATP Race To Milan, Zverev began March with 340 points in the Race, holding a 45-point lead ahead of then No. 2 Daniil Medvedev. As of 3 April Emirates ATP Rankings, he leads the pack with 565 points, 260 points ahead of Medvedev.
At the BNP Paribas Open, the first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament of 2017, after a bye in the first round, Zverev handily beat Facundo Bagnis to set a third-round clash with Nick Kyrgios, their first tour-level meeting and thus beginning a rivalry that will be one to watch for years to come.
“It will be a very exciting match, because he’s played well this year and I’ve played well this year too,” Zverev said ahead of the match. “I don’t want to say I can be the champion by the end of the next week, but I feel I can play great tennis and I can beat anybody. I have the toughest quarter of the draw and I have a feeling the champion will come out of this section. The next few rounds will be very, very difficult for all us.”
The Aussie claimed the win 6-3, 6-4, but the pair would have a rematch sooner than they thought. But before we get ahead of ourselves, the German teen made waves at the start of his Miami Open presented by Itau campaign.
Following a bye in the first round, he had no trouble getting past Yen-Hsun Lu 6-0, 6-3, before big-server John Isner provided an exceptional challenge. A fourth-round berth in the Masters 1000 tournament in South Florida was Zverev’s prize after saving three match points to beat the American 6-7,(5), 7-6(6), 7-6(5).
Next was a chance to oust top seed Stan Wawrinka, and Zverev didn’t hold back, coming from a set down to run away with the Round of 16 clash and claim a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory. With that, he booked a spot in the quarter-finals of a Masters 1000 for the first time.
A Look Back At The 2017 Miami Open
“I had to be aggressive. I felt like he was the one controlling all the points all the time, so I had to change that. It worked out well for me. Happy to be in the quarter-finals now. Hopefully I can play as great as I did today,” Zverev said after his Wawrinka triumph.
As if his last two matches weren’t entertaining enough, it was time for fireworks in Florida: Zverev was to face Kyrgios for the second time in March in what proved to be a spectacular match. Thursday night, under the lights, Zverev pushed Kyrgios further than their first meeting, forcing the Aussie to require six match points to capture the emotion-filled win 6-4, 6-7(9), 6-3.
The towering German will now look to extend his lead in the Emirates ATP Race To Milan on the clay swing in Europe, where he performed well in 2016. He advanced to the semi-finals in the BMW Open by FWU, the final in the Open de Nice Cote d’Azur, while also reaching the third round at Roland Garros (All lost to Thiem).
Should Zverev manage to maintain his level from March, the ATP World Tour could witness a few more career milestones in the near future.