by Kevin Craig
Mischa Zverev’s incredible professional tennis journey continued on Sunday at the Australian Open as he defeated the No. 1 player in the world, Andy Murray, in four sets to reach the quarterfinals, 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4.
“I don’t know how I did it,” Zverev said. “I think you should tell me how I did it because honestly there were a few points where I don’t know how I pulled it off. I don’t know how I won some points but somehow I made it.”
Zverev, the older brother of one of the most promising young stars in tennis, Alex Zverev, was ranked in the Top 50 back in 2009 before he began a bout with various injuries. After falling all the way outside of the Top 1000, forced to play futures and qualifying at challenger level events, he is now on a bigger stage than he ever was before the injuries.
His resurgence has seen him reach the Top 50 again, and his ranking will now jump inside the Top 40 after reaching his first major quarterfinal.
“It means the world to me, and it means the world to me that my whole family is here,” Zverev said. “So many people are here to support me. It’s amazing.”
The entire match was a break-fest, with both players aggressively dominating each other’s service games. In the first set, there were five breaks total and Zverev was the man who grabbed the last two, coming back from a break down two separate times. Murray would constantly get himself ahead in the set, but could never consolidate and ultimately found himself down on the scoreboard.
“He came back from all of the mistakes he made, kept coming up with great shots. Not too much you can do about that,” Murray said of the impressive performance from his opponent.
In the second set, the trend continued. Murray would break, but Zverev would break right back. After the two exchanged breaks early in the set, they found themselves once again at 5-5. In the first, it was Zverev who broke in the 11th game, but this time, it was Murray breaking in the 12th game to win the set and level the match.
Murray finally had his breakthrough. He could finally begin to settle down and cruise on his way to victory. At least that’s how he thought it would play out.
Instead, the German warrior continued his fight, breaking for a 3-2 lead. He would fight off a break point in the very next game, but unlike Murray, Zverev was able to consolidate his break and pull out a 4-2 lead. That wasn’t all for the German, though, as he broke Murray one more time for good measure before serving out the set at 15, shockingly taking the third set 6-2.
“It was kind of easy to stay aggressive but definitely tough to stay calm,” Zverev said.
Despite Murray being down two sets to one, you just couldn’t help but think that he would figure it out eventually. He came close any times in the fourth set, but it just never happened. Zverev continued his incredible play and broke Murray in the first game of the set. From there, he hardly looked back. He didn’t have to face a single break point in the final set, and that early break was good enough to get him the win.
“I don’t know how I feel yet because everything is new to me,” Zverev said. “Maybe playing Roger would be a dream to me because I always admired him growing up.
Zverev, only six years younger than Federer at 29-years old, will get to take on the 17-time major champion in the quarterfinals. Federer dispatched Kei Nishikori in five sets in a late night match on Rod Laver Arena.