Alexander Zverev attempts to make his first Grand Slam quarter-final outside of Roland Garros when he faces an on-fire Andrey Rublev in the Australian Open fourth round on Sunday.
Alexander Zverev ?? vs Andrey Rublev ?? Match Info
Date: Monday January 27
Tournament: Australian Open R16
Court: Melbourne Arena
Time: 6.30pm local time (7.30am GMT)
Alexander Zverev vs Andrey Rublev Head-to-Head
Zverev leads 3-0
2019 | Shanghai R16 | Zverev 6-0 7-6(4)
2017 | Beijing QF | Zverev 6-2 6-3
2016 | Monte Carlo R64 | Zverev 6-1 6-3
Alexander Zverev vs Andrey Rublev Match Preview
One player has brushed his critics to the side to advance to the Australian Open fourth round without dropping a set. The other is on a 15-match winning streak and has won his first 11 matches of 2020 with titles in Doha and Adelaide. They’re both two leaders of the ATP’s next generation of stars. Who emerges triumphant in a highly-anticipated Australian Open showdown to make the quarter-finals on Monday?
Zverev endured an extremely poor start to the season, losing all three of his matches at the ATP Cup and suffering from the yips on serve, misfiring with countless double faults in every match. However, the seventh seed has been in excellent touch at the Australian Open, advancing to the second week with ease, beating Marco Cecchinato, Egor Gerasimov and Fernando Verdasco in straight sets. Zverev struck 34 winners to 22 unforced errors against Verdasco on Saturday night and came back from 2-4 down in the third set to reel off four straight games to register what was ultimately a dominant 6-2 6-2 6-4 victory.
After pledging to donate all his prize money should he win the Australian Open title, Zverev says he is relaxed as he approaches the second week.
“I’m happy outside the court, happy on the court, happy in life. Then I think you play your best,” Zverev said. “I have a pretty calm life right now, which is nice for me. I have all the people that are supporting me, all the people that do their jobs here with me.”
It’s nice to hear Zverev say that, because he repeatedly referred to a messy off-court dispute with his former agent as one of the primary reasons for his below-par 2019 form, where he only won one title in Geneva and slipped from No. 3 to No. 7 in the world after failing to defend his ATP Finals title.
Sometimes we forget just how good Zverev can be – he was the youngest top three player since Novak Djokovic in 2007 and the youngest Masters 1000 champion since the Serbian that same year, while he was also the first player to beat Djokovic and Roger Federer to win the ATP Finals title in 2018. If he can get back to that form and figure out the slams, then watch out.
Meanwhile, people often forget that Rublev was the first member of the ATP ‘Next Gen’ to make a Grand Slam quarter-final when he did so at the U.S. Open in 2017, beating Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin along the way, while he also won his maiden ATP title in Umag that season. Unfortunately, injuries would halt Rublev’s progress up the rankings and would cause him to drop outside the top 80 midway through last season, but boy what a rapid rise he’s put together since getting back to full fitness.
Rublev earned a career-high 38 wins last season, with the bulk of them coming during the last half of the season where he won the title in Moscow, finished runner-up in Hamburg, beat Roger Federer on his way to the Cincinnati Masters quarter-finals and conquered Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios to reach the fourth round of the U.S. Open. Ending the season with four wins for Russia at the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid, Rublev remains unbeaten since November after becoming the first man since 2001 to win two titles in the opening fortnight of the season, prevailing in Doha and Adelaide, while his Australian Open wins over Chris O’Connell, Yuichi Sugita and David Goffin means he brings a 15-match winning streak into this showdown with Zverev.
Alexander Zverev vs Andrey Rublev Prediction
I really don’t know which way this one is going to go. Zverev appears to be regaining confidence and is 3-0 over Rublev, but we can’t be entirely sure that he’s back until he plays someone the calibre of Rublev. Meanwhile, the Russian has got to be feeling fatigued after his busy start to the season, and he’s shown signs of that during his first and third rounds. Overall, it’s almost impossible to win two titles on opposite sides of the world and make a Grand Slam quarter-final with barely any rest – if Zverev can keep his serving yips under control, I think he can outlast Rublev in baseline exchanges and make a first Australian Open quarter-final.