Comeback king Zverev and Djokovic into French Open quarters

Rafael Nadal French Open Alexander Zverev

Rafael Nadal French Open Alexander Zverev

Zverev said he spends up to four hours each day working on weights and fitness.

Second seed Alexander Zverev recovered from two-sets-to-one down for a third consecutive match to edged out Russian Karen Khachanov 4-6 7-6 (4) 2-6 6-3 6-3.

The talent of Zverev has never been in doubt, but questions were rightly asked over the past 12 months of how much belief he possessed at the crunch moments on the sport's biggest stage. He and Russia's Karen Khachanov, the youngest men remaining in the men's singles last 16, combined to finish a tough battle in nearly three and a half hours, where Zverev came back from 2-1 down to ultimately win 4-6, 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. But the German player also showed, once again, that he knows how to dig deep when it matters.

Zverev is a popular figure, he's had an incredible year but it wasn't really a match.

Zverev did not waiver in the fifth set either, taking control with an early break and wrapping up the match on Khachanov's serve several games later before falling to his knees in celebration.

Thiem defeated Zverev twice more during that clay court season, in the final in the warm-up event in Nice 6-4 3-6 6-0 and in the Roland Garros third round 6-7 6-3 6-3 6-3. In all three of his five-setters he has trailed 2-1 in sets. However, despite the fact that Thiem had a dominant head to head over Zverev (especially on clay) the honours went to the German in the Madrid Masters final, in quite commanding fashion. And the last 10 years you needed to beat at least two of them in a Grand Slam to win, and not many players did it.

Strycova contributed nearly twice as many unforced errors as her opponent-33 to 18, per Flashscore.com, and dropped serve at least twice in each set.

"The first two sets were incredible, but then he raised his level and it was 50-50".

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It was hard to discern which was less likely: that 12-time major champion Novak Djokovic would falter in his French Open quarterfinal or that Marco Cecchinato, who never won a Grand Slam match until last week and once faced a possible ban for losing on objective, would rise to the occasion.

We saw a magnificent fightback from Diego Schwartzman yesterday, with the Argentine fighting back from 1-6 2-6 down (and saving match points) to beat Kevin Anderson and move into the quarter-finals. Their match was suspended at 3-3 in the second set. That left the Austrian facing a hard challenge in Nishikori, but Thiem made fairly light work of it to again win in four sets, 6-2 6-0 5-7 6-4.

"I am very pi**ed off about it", he smiled.

Reigning US Open champion Sloane Stephens ensured her progress to the final four by easing past 14th seed Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 6-1.

"I thought I played pretty solid", Stephens said.

The 12-time Grand Slam champion took the first two sets by a single break of serve and raced through the third as 34-year-old Verdasco ended with 48 unforced errors.

In women's play, 13th-seeded Madison Keys reached the quarterfinals for the first time at Roland Garros after beating No. 31 Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania 6-1, 6-4 on Chatrier.

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