After saving a set point on the Harris serve in the first-set tie-break, the German took full control of the match, taking the South African’s opening-service games in the second and third sets en route to a 7-6(6), 6-3, 6-4 win.
“He served incredibly in the first set, so I didn’t have a lot of chances. I somehow managed to win the first set and that loosened me up a little bit,” Zverev said.
Extending his winning streak to 16 matches, the Tokyo Olympics and Cincinnati champion will face the winner of tonight’s quarter-final between World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and World No. 8 Matteo Berrettini.
Zverev’s aggressive, flat returning and heavy rally-ball forehands forced Harris to play deeper behind the baseline that he prefers and limited the South African’s ability to dictate play. The Monte-Carlo resident also continued his strong serving performance this tournament, closing out the match with a 136 mph ace, his 21st of the match.
The German will be happy to advance but less pleased with how he closed out the match. Serving at 4-1, 40/0 in the third set, Zverev produced a string of errors to drop serve and was also pushed to deuce in his next service game, escaping with a pair of aces to restore order at 5-3.
Zverev also looked to suffer from minor back discomfort midway through the second set, but his personal physio Hugo Gravil will have two days to get the 24-year-old back to full fitness ahead of the semi-finals.
Zverev has now served 83 aces and just 15 double faults through five matches and today won 82 per cent of first-serve points. He has dropped serve four times this fortnight. At last year’s US Open Zverev hit 10 or more double faults in a match four times.
Zverev’s Shining Weapon: ‘My Serve Is The Key’
Looking to join Andy Murray (2012) as the only men to win the Olympics and US Open in the same year, Zverev has enjoyed a much more efficient path to the semi-finals this year, dropping just one set (to Jack Sock) in five matches. In 2020, the Hamburg native was pushed to four sets four times en route to the semi-finals. (And he played five-set matches in the semis and final.)
Of his possible semi-final opponents, Zverev trails Djokovic 3-6 in their ATP Head2Head, but did come from a set and a break down at the Olympics to stun the Serbian in their most recent meeting. At the beginning of the season he also pushed Djokovic to 7-6 in the fourth set at the Australian Open and 7-5 in the third at the ATP Cup. Zverev leads Berrettini 3-1 and won their only hard-court meeting in Shanghai in 2019.
World No. 46 Harris, who next Monday will rise to a new career-high FedEx ATP Ranking, won eight matches at the majors this year, after winning a combined two matches at the Slams during the past three years. He has 24 match wins on the season, including a victory over Rafael Nadal at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. during the US Open Series.