By Pritha Sarkar
LONDON (Reuters) – The personal milestones are starting to stack up for Alexander Zverev and on Saturday he notched another one at Wimbledon by reaching the last 16 of a grand slam for the first time with a 6-4 6-4 6-2 win over Austrian qualifier Sebastian Ofner.
The leader of the ATP’s NextGen pack has long been tipped as a future grand slam champion and he is desperate to prove that he can back up the soaring exceptions.
Hence after setting up a showdown with Canadian sharp-shooter Milos Raonic, 10th seed Zverev was not exactly jumping up and down with unbridled joy.
“Of course it’s nice to reach the fourth round but this is not the goal that somebody sets themselves, ‘Oh, I want to be there fourth round and then that’s it’,” said the 20-year-old.
“Obviously I want to keep playing good tennis and keep getting up there.”
He has reason to be confident about his next outing as he throttled Raonic in their only meeting. That win in May propelled him towards his biggest title to date – the Rome Masters.
But with Raonic having finished runner-up at Wimbledon to Andy Murray last year, Zverev knows that beating the sixth seed on the slick grass will be more tricky — especially since the Canadian can feel ill at ease on the slow clay.
“You have to take confidence from the previous matches. I haven’t lost a set yet. That’s got to give me something, said Zverev, whose hopes of an all-Zverev quarter-final were dashed on Saturday when older bother Mischa lost to Roger Federer.
“Hopefully I can take a little bit out of that Rome match, but obviously this is a completely different surface and different circumstances. He’s been (in the) final here. I’m going to expect him to play very, very well.”
(Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Ken Ferris)