Alexander Zverev and Belinda Bencic aim to raise a trophy to complement the gold medals recently hung around their necks.
The singles champions from the Tokyo Olympics reached the US Open quarterfinals on Monday, both approaching their first Grand Slam crown.
Zverev defeated Jannik Sinner 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (7) for his 15th straight win. The fourth-seeded German started that streak in Japan, continued with the Cincinnati Masters title and is on a steady pace at the US Open, where he lost to Dominic Thiem in last year’s final.
Zverev mentioned that he carries the gold medal in New York. The 24-year-old, who has been accused of domestic abuse by a former girlfriend, joked on the track that he strokes the medal when in bed because he has no company.
He said wearing that medal allows him to keep in mind his success over the past month. He also highlighted the confidence he has acquired as the key to tipping a couple of decisive moments in his favor at the end of the second set and then coming from behind in the tiebreaker of the third.
“I think that is due to my last months,” he said.
Bencic also achieved her best result in a major at the US Open, reaching the semifinals in 2019. The 24-year-old Swiss was one victory away from returning to that stage after eliminating 7-6 (12), 6-3 to the Polish Iga Swiatek, 2020 French Open champion.
Eleventh-seeded at Flushing Meadows, Bencic emerged victorious from a lengthy first set tiebreaker and sentenced the second set in 43 minutes – if anything 20 longer than the tiebreaker length.
“The (first set) was so even, and I think there is always a little bit of luck in the tiebreaker,” Bencic said. AFP (HN)