Alexander Zverev, for all of his abilities and success on tour, has reached a single Grand Slam final. That came in the 2020 US Open when there were no crowds because of the Covid pandemic.
“Sascha,” as he is affectionately called, held a two sets to love lead in that final before he simply choked and watched as Dominic Thiem stole the moment. Thiem has since struggled with injuries and has not capitalized on this title. Zverev however, has continued being a fixture in the upper echelon of the men’s game until a devastating ankle injury at last year’s French Open set him on the sideline for six months.
The German spent the early portion of this year working his way back into form as he tried to maintain some semblance of a solid ranking. He reached the semifinals at this year’s French Open which showed the tennis community he still had it in him. Since then, he had an unlucky draw against Berrettini in the Wimbledon third round where he succumbed to the big-hitting Italian.
Sascha Zverev could be a dangerous player at the US Open
From there, Zverev pivoted back to the European clay courts where he reached the last eight in Bastad before winning the ATP 500 event in his hometown of Hamburg. Throughout that week, Zverev played with an intense focus that we had not seen from him in a long time. He was locked in from the opening ball. As it were, the highest player he beat en route to the title was ranked 57th in the world.
However, he did what is expected of a player of his caliber. An early exit from the Toronto Masters cast a little doubt on his transition to the hard courts. A rock-solid run to the Western and Southern Open semifinals last week at the 1000 event in Cincinnati that included a win over World No. 3 Daniil Medvedev, alleviated those fears.
While he lost to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in straight sets, they were two razor-thin sets of tennis. His game is definitely trending up as he comes into New York.
In Zverev’s last two trips to the US Open, he reached the aforementioned final and the 2021 semifinals. This should give him a comfort level that will ease some early nerves that come at a Grand Slam.
He has battled to get his ranking back to No. 12 meaning he has a very solid 12-seed in Flushing Meadows. His possible 3rd round opponent would be No. 19 Grigor Dimitrov or Andy Murray. Those are winnable matches for Zverev and he will be looking to reach the Round of 16 with little wear on his body.
He will need this stored energy as the possibility of facing Jannik Sinner in the 4th round and Carlos Alcaraz in the quarterfinals is not an appealing draw. He will be hoping there are some upsets on the horizon to ease his burden.
If one or both of the above get stunned early, Zverev could really become a threat for a deep run. As it stands, he would probably be okay with a 4th round or quarterfinal appearance. Anything beyond that with this draw would be a bonus.
He certainly stands a chance at the 2023 US Open with his many gifts. The 2024 Australian Open (when Zverev’s ranking has presumably been restored back into the top 8) might be when he can really threaten for a major title, though.