Alexander Zverev reaches the last four for first time since injury return

Celebrations from Alexander Zverev

Alexander Zverev has been encouraged to see his hard work pay off in Dubai as he reached the semi-finals for the first time since his injury.

Zverev defeated Lorenzo Sonego 7-5, 6-4 on Thursday at the hard-court ATP 500 Dubai Tennis Championships.

He felt that the run in Dubai is the result of the hard work he has put in to get back to his best.

“It’s been a very difficult time for me over, I would say, the last nine months,” said Zverev in his on-court interview.

“I haven’t played tennis at all for such a long period for the first time in my life. It definitely shows that the hard work is paying off and I’m extremely happy with my progress and how I’m playing right now.

“I’m happy to be in my first semi-final since the injury. Hopefully it won’t be my last and hopefully there’s much more to come here.”

Zverev has dropped only one set in his opening three matches as he downed Jiri Lehecka, Christopher O’Connell and Sonego.

Czech Lehecka tested Zverev first up but he seemed to find his level against O’Connell.

Against Sonego it was Zverev’s precise execution that carried him through the round as he committed just eight errors against the 16 wayward shots from the Italian.

Six break points were presented to Sonego by Zverev, three in the match’s opening service game and three in the match’s decisive game, but he saved them all to maintain his flawless serve. 

At 5-4, 0/40 in the second set, with Sonego threatening a late comeback at the Aviation Tennis Stadium, Zverev was happy with how he had handled the situation.

“In those moments, you’ve got to go back to the basics,” said Zverev. “You’ve got to play each point by itself, you’ve got to remember what you can control. That is always your serve, that’s the only shot in tennis you can control purely by yourself. It obviously helps that I hit five first-serves in a row and then the match was over.”

After his victory on Thursday, Zverev, who is competing in the tournament for the second time, reached his first semi-final in Dubai.

The reigning champion Andrey Rublev will be his opponent in the semi-final.

Novak Djokovic faces Hubert Hurkacz in the third Dubai Tennis Championships semi-final with the winner of that match set to face the victor of Daniil Medvedev’s meeting with Borna Coric.

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