Marathon man Zverev keeps French dream alive

ALEXANDER Zverev is turning the French Open into a personal marathon.

For the third match in a row, the second seed needed five sets to keep alive hopes of dethroning Rafael Nadal as Roland Garros king.

After thrillers against Dusan Lajovic and Damir Dzumhur, who held a match point against the German, Zverev has reached a major quarter-final for the first time in a previously underwhelming major career.

His 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 6-3 6-3 victory in three hours, 29 minutes over Karen Khachanov in sweltering conditions would have drained the 21-year-old’s reserves.

But he is anything but concerned.

“I’m young, so I might as well stay on court and practice a little bit … It’s the best, a five-set match,” he said.

“I’ve been down 2-1 every single time but I’m unbelievably happy to be into the quarter-finals. The draw doesn’t get any easier and I have to see how it goes in the next few days.”

Zverev had never previously survived the fourth round in 11 grand slam attempts.

Warned for a coaching violation after officials spotted signals from his support box, Zverev is the youngest man to reach the last eight in Paris since Juan Martin del Potro in 2009.

Zverev will face seventh seed Dominic Thiem for a semi-final berth after the Austrian downed Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-2 6-0 5-7 6-4.

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