Bernabe Zapata Miralles is number 131 in the tennis world rankings, but a challenge for title contender Alexander Zverev in the round of 16 of the French Open. Germany's Grand Slam hope does not make a sentence, but 63 unforced errors are simply too many.
Alexander Zverev only cheered cautiously after a cramped, erratic performance - and the wait for Carlos Alcaraz began with great doubts: the top German player made it into the quarter-finals at the French Open in Paris despite a mistake festival and his part for a possible top duel done with the shooting star of the scene. But the condition of the Olympic champion raises questions. "He drove me crazy," said Zverev after the game in which he made 63 unforced mistakes and was able to smile a little again: "He's one of the fastest players. I hardly beat a winner, every return came from him to the baseline."
Zverev, who was visibly dissatisfied with himself - he cursed almost constantly and threw the bat - sat down 7: 6 (13:11), 7: 5, 6: 3 against the Spanish qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles, number 131 world, and then looked at what was happening on Court Philippe Chatrier. There, late in the evening, his next opponent was determined in the match between Alcaraz, four-time tournament winner this year and co-favorite for Paris, and the Russian Karen Khachanov.
No matter who it is against - it will be a match of great importance and Zverev will have to improve significantly. The German number one also came to the French capital with the intention of playing itself back into the foreground. The 25-year-old didn't like the fact that many experts rated Alcaraz higher than himself before the tournament. "It takes more to win a Grand Slam tournament than just playing tennis well," Zverev said said. Experience, for example, which he himself has plenty to show for.
It was the plan of the 2020 US Open finalist, who was in the semifinals in Paris and also in Melbourne last year, to also play them off against Zapata Miralles. After having to fend off a match point in the second round, he then managed a more confident performance against the American Brandon Nakashima, which he wanted to follow up against Zapata Miralles. But after a decent start and a quick 4-1 lead, Zverev completely lost his concentration, made mistakes after mistakes and had to fend off three set balls.
Anyone who believed that the favorite had now been shaken up was wrong. "This is the worst tennis match I've played in my life," he cried, still searching for his game deep in the second set. Against a stronger opponent, Zverev would have been punished long ago, Zapata Miralles lacked the class and the Spaniard was no longer able to prevent the still struggling third in the world rankings from reaching the quarter-finals in the final round.
World number one Novak Djokovic also reached the round of the last eight. After beating Argentinian Diego Schwartzman 6: 1, 6: 3, 6: 3, Grand Slam record champion Rafael Nadal (Spain) or Felix Auger-Aliassime (Canada) meets.