Alexander Zverev became world no. 2 for the first time in his career this week. Still, the German will not be able to celebrate his ranking success on the court, injuring his right ankle against Rafael Nadal in the Roland Garros semi-final. As was expected, Zverev withdrew from Wimbledon following surgery on his right ankle, needing at least 50 more days to recover. Zverev tore several lateral ligaments in his right foot during that grueling Roland Garros clash, and he hopes to play again in August ahead of the US Open. Zverev gave his everything against Nadal and pushed the king of clay to the limits for over three hours! They played two mammoth sets, and Nadal led 7-6, 6-6 when the German hurt his right ankle and left the court in tears following his career’s first retirement. Nadal had to dig deep on a slow court under a roof against a determined rival.
The Spaniard survived four set points in the opener and came from behind in the second. Those two sets brought almost 200 points, and Rafa took only four more than Alexander. Both players claimed five breaks and grabbed nearly half of the return points. Alexander delivered a break in the encounter’s opening game and opened a 4-2 advantage. Nadal broke back in game eight and took charge to earn three set points on the return in game ten. Zverev survived them and created two break points in the 11th game. Nadal stayed focused and denied them to reach a tie break. The Spaniard delivered his A-game at 2-6 to save four set points, rattle off five straight points and extend the battle. Zverev fended off two set points at 6-7 and 7-8 before Nadal cracked a forehand down the line winner at 10-9 to steal the opener in grueling 91 minutes!
Alexander Zverev experienced a nasty ankle injury at Roland Garros.
The second set kicked off with four consecutive breaks, and Nadal lost serve again to find himself 4-2 behind. Zverev hit a double fault in the seventh game to lose serve before stealing the rival’s serve for the fourth time in a row and opening a 5-3 gap. Nadal fought hard and pulled the break back at the last moment following Zverev’s costly double fault in game nine. They served well in the following three games to set another tie break. It never came, though, as Alexander twisted his right ankle in the 12th game’s last point and retired a couple of minutes later. Zverev will miss Wimbledon for the first time in his career after making a debut in 2015 at 18. The youngster prevailed over Teymuraz Gabashvili 9-7 in the decider to secure his first Major victory. Zverev lost to Milos Raonic in five sets in 2017 and experienced heavy losses in 2018 and 2019. The German fell to Felix Auger-Aliassime in five sets last year, and he is yet to enter the last eight at the All England Club.