Paris (dpa) – With his strongest performance so far this year in Paris, Alexander Zverev reached the eighth finals at the French Open.

Two days after the five-line thriller against Pierre-Hugues Herbert from France, Germany’s best tennis player clearly won against Italian Marco Cecchinato 6: 1, 7: 5, 6: 3 despite again unfavorable rain and wind conditions. Zverev put his third match ball after 1:47 and now meets the Italian shooting star Jannik Sinner on Sunday.

“His attitude was great today. He took the court as a favorite and showed it to his opponent from the start,” said tennis legend Boris Becker, a TV pundit at Eurosport. The three-time Wimbledon winner was still concerned about Zverev’s condition after the long game against Herbert and the efforts at the US Open in New York. But against Cecchinato, who surprisingly reached the semi-finals in 2018 at the Stade Roland Garros, Zverev made a good and fresh impression.

But before the Hamburg resident was allowed to enter Suzanne Lenglen’s court, he had to wait a few hours. Due to the rain, the meeting between the Swiss Stan Wawrinka and the French Hugo Gaston was interrupted for about two hours. And because the two played a five-set match at the time, the match in Zverev’s third round didn’t start until around 7:30 p.m. local time.

Zverev didn’t seem to mind the long wait. The US Open finalist was wide awake from the start and managed to make two quick breaks. After just 25 minutes, Zverev got the first set. The Italian then improved in the second set and even took a 5: 3 lead. But Zverev remained calm and won the round 7: 5 with four wins in a row.

Cecchinato’s resistance was broken. Zverev also managed to break the third set quickly and effortlessly marched into the second round. There, however, he should be asked a little more. 19-year-old Sinner is considered one of the most talented players on the tour, winning the small World Cup for the best young players last year.

Just like Zverev, the two top favorites Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem also reached the second round in a calm cycle. Twelve-time Parisian champion Nadal easily won 6: 1, 6: 4, 6: 0 against Italian Stefano Travaglia. The 34-year-old Spaniard only needed 1:35 hours for his success. Nadal is now dealing with 20-year-old Sebastian Korda. The Czech qualifier is the son of former world player Petr Korda.

Thiem also had no problems at Philippe Chatrier’s court. The US Open champion beat Casper Ruud from Norway 6: 4, 6: 3, 6: 1. The 27-year-old Austrian used his second match point after 2.15 hours and, like Nadal, has not lost a set in the tournament.

In the round of 16, the number three in the tennis world now takes on the French wild card holder Hugo Gaston. The 20-year-old surprisingly knocked out Swiss Stan Wawrinka, who has been so strong in Paris so far, with 2: 6, 6: 3, 6: 3, 4: 6, 6: 0. Gaston is only number 239 of the world. Another player who is worse in the ranking was in the round of 16 of the French Open.

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