It’s youth versus experience in a German on German battle as 29th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber looks to score his second win of the season over up and comer Alexander Zverev. Zverev seeks his first main draw win at the U.S. Open.
(29) Philipp Kohlschreiber vs. Alexander Zverev
Kohlschreiber brings all the Slam experience to this match. He is 58-44 all-time at Slams, while Zverev has just two matches in main draws. Both of those came at Wimbledon this year where he went 1-1.
Kohlschreiber has made the fourth round of the U.S. Open in three straight seasons. It will be a stretch to see him make that four years with 2nd seed Roger Federer looming in this part of the draw, but the point is Kohlschreiber has been a consistently good performer at this event. Seemingly, the German’s prep and form prior to the U.S. Open does not preclude him from doing well. In each of the past three years, he hasn’t won more than a single match in prep for the U.S. Open at the Rogers Cup and Cincinnati Masters.
For Zverev, he will hope that his run through qualifying has helped him get a good feel for the surface. He finishes his qualis run by beating Ivan Dodig in straight sets. The teen is still crafting his game to hard courts with this being his first full year playing most of these ATP level events. He has shown some definite ability on the surface, making the Citi Open quarterfinals earlier this summer. He beat Kevin Anderson and Alexandr Dolgopolov there before dropping out in two tough sets to Marin Cilic. In Cincy, he made it through qualifying with wins over Benjamin Becker and Denis Istomin. He was unable to beat fellow wunderkind Borna Coric in the main draw in a 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 loss.
When they met for the only time in April, it was in Munich on clay. That has been Sascha Zverev’s best surface in his early days as a pro. Zverev’s first ATP semifinal came on clay last Fall in Hamburg. In Munich though, he was no match for Kohlschreiber has the veteran won 6-2, 6-4 on his way to the final. Zverev could barely touch Kohlschreiber’s first serve that saw him win 75 percen of the points. He was only forced into eight second serves for the match, winning seven points. Zverev’s own serve was faulty as he won just 53 percent of his service points and was broken four times.
I do think Zverev has gained some confidence with his play over the summer. Hard courts were unchartered territory for him mostly before 2015 and he has shown that his game can be successful on the surface. He is a big kid at 6’5″ tall and it seems that his powerful ground strokes should suit hard courts well as he learns to harness his weapons. HIs serve should also continue to be a weapon that can generate cheap points. I think that is a big focal point for Sascha on Tuesday. If he is going to beat Kohlschreiber, his serve has to be dominant. He needs easy points off of his serve that keep him from getting into prolonged rallies where Kohlschreiber has better consistency at this stage.
This should be a much more even battle than the first between these two. Zverev has grown in the months since they met in Munich. Kohlschreiber will not back down in this spot, so I think it is imperative for Zverev to find some early success after the drubbing he took at the hands of Kohlschreiber in April. If he can get a set early, anything is possible in this one as the next generation of ATP stars is looking to make its mark.
Zverev wins in five sets