Fourth seed Zverev sweeps into US Open semis… and has to mop the court too

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Alexander Zverev
Alexander Zverev lost to Dominic Thiem in the final of the US Open last year
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Date: 30 August-12 September
Coverage: Daily radio commentaries on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra/BBC Sport website and app, with selected live text commentaries and match reports on the website and app

Olympic champion Alexander Zverev moved into the US Open semi-finals with a straight-set victory over South African Lloyd Harris.

German fourth seed Zverev, 24, won 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 6-4 in just over two hours.

Zverev, who trailed 5-3 in the first set, was pegged back slightly in the third but two early breaks had given him a resounding lead.

He could face world number one Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, should the Serb overcome Matteo Berrettini.

Zverev beat Djokovic in the Olympic semi-finals in July and is aiming to reach back-to-back US Open finals, after finishing runner-up to Austria’s Dominic Thiem in 2020.

He was glad to advance in front of a crowd on Arthur Ashe Stadium this time after spectators were not allowed to attend last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Last year I won it [the semi-final] before exactly six people,” Zverev said. “So it’s nice to have everybody back.”

South African Harris, 24, ends an impressive tournament, having reached the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time in Australia this year and backing it up in New York.

Harris led 5-3 in the first set and had set point in the tie-break but could not deal with Zverev’s powerful serve for long periods of the match.

Frustrations get messy

The court being cleaned after Lloyd Harris spilt his drink
Alexander Zverev and Lloyd Harris both picked up towels and helped clean the court after a drink was spilt

There were extraordinary scenes on Arthur Ashe when Harris showed his frustrations at the end of the first set tie-break, launching a drink bottle across the court.

Its contents spilt and both players, along with the umpire and a number of ball kids, had to pick up towels to clean it up.

At one point, Zverev and Harris were chatting away while drying up the mess, before the South African poured water over the area to stop it from getting sticky.

He was not the only one to lose his cool – Zverev, while trailing 5-3 in the opening set, slammed his racquet into the ground after missing a forehand.

But the German was in fine serving form, even producing an ace on a second serve midway through the second set, and Harris could not find a way back into the match.

Zverev slams his racquet
Zverev showed his frustration by slamming his racquet into the court
Lloyd Harris cleaning up
Harris cleans up his own mess after spilling a drink across the court