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Alexander Zverev vs Ryan Harrison Abierto Mexicano Telcel tennis live: Zverev targets first semi-final of 2018 in Acapulco

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 1 Mar 2018
  • Alexander Zverev vs Ryan Harrison is live from Acapulco not before 5.30pm local time on Thursday (11.30pm GMT)
  • First meeting between the pair
Alexander Zverev (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

Into his first quarter-final of the season, World No. 5 Alexander Zverev continues his Abierto Mexicano Telcel campaign in Acapulco on Thursday against the in-form Ryan Harrison.





The unseeded Ryan Harrison has won more than double the matches of second seed Alexander Zverev so far in 2018 - can the American register just the third top 10 scalp of his career and move through to a second Acapulco semi-final? Zverev hasn’t really been able to produce his best tennis since capturing the Montreal Masters last August and is still seemingly vulnerable in Acapulco despite two straight sets wins - when will the young German re-discover the lights out tennis that saw him rise to as high as No. 3 in the world in 2017? It could be here in Acapulco, but he will need to step up his level against Harrison, who is playing some of the best tennis of his career to kick off 2018. Zverev and Harrison take to court at…

Zverev has been searching for his best tennis for the better part of five months now, and although he’s still not quite found it in Acapulco, he’s been winning matches - and that’s the most important thing. After coming through the challenge of lucky loser Mackenzie McDonald in straight sets in the opening round, Zverev was fortunate to do so again in the second against German Davis Cup teammate Peter Gojowczyk, saving three set points in total in the first set - two at 5-6, 15-40 down and another at 5-6 in the tiebreak as he edged the opener, while a break at 4-3 in the second was enough for the 20-year-old to secure a 7-6(6) 6-3 victory and book a place in his first quarter-final of the season.

It’s easy to forget that Zverev is still only 20 years of age and should be afforded the time to settle down on tour again after a swashbuckling 2017 campaign that saw him capture five titles - including his first two ATP Masters 1000 trophies in Rome (def. Djokovic) and Montreal (def. Federer), along with an ATP 500 crown in Washington D.C and a pair of ATP 250 titles in Montpellier and Munich.


Zverev amassed a total of seven top 10 victories, but he didn’t perform well in Grand Slams - and that loss of confidence has translated into 2018, with the young gun winning just three tour-level matches (outside of Davis Cup) as he arrived in Acapulco, losing in the third round of the Australian Open to Hyeon Chung (fading badly as he went down 6-0 in the fifth), while he was routined by Italian veteran Andreas Seppi in the second round of Rotterdam. Can he generate some momentum in Acapulco and put himself into a position to challenge for the title?

Ryan Harrison (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
Ryan Harrison will be no easy-beat. The 25-year-old American - who was touted as the future of American tennis but has never come close to achieving that sort of success - is starting to find his place on tour, and some controversy with Donald Young in New York aside, he has enjoyed a very fine start to 2018, finishing runner-up to Nick Kyrgios at the Brisbane International, reaching the this round of the Australian Open before going down to eventual finalist Marin Cilic and now making his the quarter-finals of the ATP 500 Abierto Mexicano Telcel, posting a pair of tough victories over John Isner and Rio Open champion Diego Schwartzman, snapping the Argentine’s six-match winning streak with a 6-3 5-7 6-4 triumph.

You can clearly see the influence of former American warhorse Michael Russell in Harrison’s fight on court, with the former one of the biggest competitors you’ll ever see on a tennis court.

First bursting onto the scene as a 15-year-old when he beat Pablo Cuevas in Houston, Harrison struggled to adapt to life on tour and spent the better part of a decade fluctuating between the main tour and Challenger circuit, but after a career-best season in 2017, which yielded a first ATP title in Memphis, a runner-up showing in Atalanta and quarter-final finishes in Estoril and Tokyo, the 25-year-old has positioned himself nicely to eclipse those achievements in 2018.

Zverev and Harrison have never played each other before - and this promises to be an intriguing match-up. Harrison has had success in Acapulco before - one of his two top 10 wins came at the tournament in 2015 when he beat Grigor Dimitrov en route to the semi-finals - and he is playing well enough to repeat that feat again on Thursday. I’m still going to back Zverev - sooner or later he has got to find his game, and the hunger and desire is clearly there if you’ve watched both his matches this week - so I think he will be able to fight and scrap his way through to a first semi-final of the season.


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Alexander Zverev vs Ryan Harrison Abierto Mexicano Telcel tennis live: Zverev targets first semi-final of 2018 in Acapulco

Into his first quarter-final of the season, World No. 5 Alexander Zverev continues his Abierto Mexicano Telcel campaign in Acapulco on Thursday against the in-form Ryan Harrison.

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