MELBOURNE, Jan 21 — World number three Alexander Zverev said today that he needs to play even better if he wants to go far at the Australian Open, as the German chases a maiden major crown.
Zverev powered his way into the last 16 with a superb serving display against Moldova’s Radu Albot, winning 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in 1hr 57min in hot conditions.
The Tokyo Olympic gold medallist thundered down 16 aces to put away the 124th-ranked Albot on John Cain Arena.
Zverev will next take on Canada’s 14th seed Denis Shapovalov, whom he leads 4-2 in their series of matches.
“I think from the back of the court I’m playing quite okay,” Zverev, 24, said.
“Today was just very different. It was a lot hotter. The balls were flying a lot more. That’s why maybe I was doing a few more mistakes than usual.”
Zverev is yet to drop a set as he shapes up for a possible quarter-final showdown with 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal.
“I’m through the first week without losing a set. I think that’s always very positive,” he said.
“I feel I still have plenty of energy, which is good for me going into the next matches.
“The next opponents, next matches will get tougher. I’m looking forward to that, and I think I will need to play same way or even better.”
Albot, the only Moldovan man or woman to contest a Grand Slam, equalled his best performance at a major by reaching the third round.
But Albot found the power and range of Zverev too much to handle as the German clocked 44 winners to his 14.
“I think Radu is in great form, he’s played five matches so far, so he is obviously playing well, feeling the ball well,” said Zverev, into the second week at Melbourne Park for the fourth year in a row.
“I am happy to be through in three sets.”
Zverev has long been talked about as the next superstar of men’s tennis, but he is yet to win a Grand Slam, his best showing at a major losing the 2020 US Open final to Dominic Thiem. — AFP