The German arrived in good form after his recent performances, reaching the semifinals of the Cincinnati Open and the quarterfinals of the US Open, in addition to winning the title in Chengdu the previous week. This translates to 13 victories in his last 15 matches, with his only losses coming against world No. 1 and world No. 2, Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz.
With confidence from his 24th career title win the previous week and a successful debut against Diego Schwartzman in Shanghai, Zverev faced a tough opponent in Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (25th). Zverev had a 3-1 record in his favor against Davidovich Fokina, but their most recent encounter resulted in a victory for the Spanish player at the Toronto Open less than two months ago.
During the first set, neither player could hold their serves with ease. Zverev had an 89% first serve percentage but only won 49% of those points, while Davidovich Fokina had a 62% first serve percentage but won 58% of those points. The inconsistency in their serving allowed Davidovich Fokina to break Zverev's serve on three occasions, but Zverev quickly responded in the following game.
Despite six breaks of serve, neither player could establish a clear advantage, leading to a tie-break. In a similar fashion to the rest of the set, Davidovich Fokina won the tie-break 7-4 after 78 minutes.
The second set saw a complete change in the match as Zverev found his rhythm with his serve. He didn't face any break points against him and secured two breaks in his favor to win the set 6-2.
Although Zverev's first serve percentage dropped to 65%, Davidovich Fokina could only win 29% of the points when returning Zverev's first serve and 33% on the second serve, significantly lower than Zverev's 44% and 40%, respectively.
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In the third set, Zverev continued to dominate, leaving behind the inconsistencies of the first set. Finally, the former world No. 2 proved superior to Davidovich Fokina, who struggled with precision towards the end of the match.
Clearly disappointed with his level, Davidovich Fokina couldn't do much against Zverev, and the Spaniard lost the match with a decisive score of 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-1.
In the quarterfinals, Zverev will face Nicolas Jarry (23rd), who defeated the fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas (6th) in the first round and then overcame the 22-year-old Matteo Arnaldi (48th).