It will be a showdown of two 23-year-olds on Tuesday when Alexander Zverev challenges Borna Coric in the US Open quarter-finals. Zverev, the highest-ranked player left in the top half of the draw, will be looking to improve upon a 1-3 ATP Head2Head record against Coric. The pair has not met for more than two years (2018 Halle), but Coric did beat Zverev 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(1), 7-6(4) in the 2017 US Open second round.
“He’s one of the top players in the world for the past three or four years,” said Coric. “His game is very, very solid. He doesn’t have any weak points. He’s serving huge at this tournament. I saw that. I actually watched almost all of his matches, because twice he was playing before me. He’s playing, I think, some of the best tennis of his life. It’s going to be a very interesting match. We played four or five times. It has always been a very big battle.”
Borna Coric (27) vs. Alexander Zverev (5) – Coric Leads 3-1
Zverev, currently four spots off his career-high of No. 3 in the FedEx ATP Rankings (6 November 2017), will look to his experience of reaching in the Australian Open semi-finals in January. Coric will hope to replicate the form and fight he showed to save six match points to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round last week, and use it as a springboard.
Coric, the 2013 US Open junior champion, twice previously reached a Grand Slam fourth round at the 2018 US Open (l. to Cilic) and 2019 Australian Open (l. to Pouille), but this time the World No. 32 admits, “It does feel great, to be honest. It’s a very big relief for me. I wanted this for a very long time. I couldn’t make that step in the past two times.”
Both Zverev and former World No. 12 Coric lost in the Western & Southern Open second round, to Andy Murray and David Goffin, respectively.
Pablo Carreno Busta (20) vs. Denis Shapovalov (12) – Carreno Busta Leads 3-1
Denis Shapovalov is in unfamiliar territory this week, but with the backing of Mikhail Youzhny and his work with a sports psychologist this year, he has made a major breakthrough at the 2020 US Open. The 21-year-old squares off against Pablo Carreno Busta, who reached the 2017 semi-finals.
Carreno Busta leads Shapovalov 3-1 in their ATP Head2Head series, including victories in their past two matches in 2019 at the Chengdu Open and the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. The Spaniard also won in three tie-break sets in the fourth round of the US Open three years ago.
“He’s beaten me every time on hard courts. It’s definitely going to be an extremely tough, tough challenge,” Shapovalov said. “Obviously, he’s kind of like David [Goffin]: very solid, very stable from the back. It’s going to be a similar match-up for me… I have to play my game, but remain [as] steady as possible.”
With wins over Sebastian Korda, Soonwoo Kwon, No. 19 seed Taylor Fritz and seventh seed Goffin, Shapovalov has proven he’s a very different player to the one who reached the 2017 fourth round, his previous best Grand Slam championship run.
Last year, Shapovalov lifted his first ATP Tour title at the Stockholm Open (d. Krajinovic) and followed it up with a Rolex Paris Masters final run (l. to Djokovic). He also beat two Top 10 players — Stefanos Tsitsipas and Zverev — when representing Canada at the ATP Cup in January.
Carreno Busta has used winning his first ATP Masters 1000 doubles crown (w/Alex de Minaur) at the recent Western & Southern Open (d. J. Murray/Soares) to reach his third major singles championship quarter-final (also 2017 Roland Garros and the 2017 US Open). The 29-year-old, who survived a five-set battle against Yasutaka Uchiyama in the first round, is No. 27 in the FedEx ATP Rankings — 10 spots off Shapovalov’s current position (No. 17).
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