Alexander Zverev will be looking to capitalize on an impressive summer when he returns to the US Open next week.
The 20-year-old is seeded fourth and has hoisted himself into contention following ATP 500 success in Washington D.C. and a second Masters 1000 triumph at the Rogers Cup in Montreal.
He boasts a 10-1 record on the American hard courts this summer and will undoubtedly benefit from an extended rest following his early exit at the Western and Southern Open earlier this month.
However, doubts persist about the German’s ability over the best of five sets and he is yet to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal despite his form on the main tour.
Zverev’s career-best showing in New York came last year when he reached the second round. Seeded 27th he knocked off compatriot Daniel Brands in the opening round, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6, but was sent packing by Great Britain’s Dan Evans.
He made his debut in Flushing Meadows in 2015 but was immediately dispatched by fellow German Philipp Kohlschreiber in five sets.
Zverev made it through qualifying that year and it is a mark of his progress that he is seeded only behind Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, and Roger Federer this time around.
The 20-year-old blew a 2-1 lead over Nadal in the third round of the Australian Open but he bounced back by winning his first title of 2017 in Montpellier. He dispatched Richard Gasquet in straight sets before enduring back-to-back defeats to Nick Kyrgios in Indian Wells and Miami.
His clay court season began with a last 16 showing in Monte-Carlo but that disappointment was quickly offset with a first ATP title on clay in Munich. He downed the Argentine Guido Pella in the final and his preparations for the French Open couldn’t have gone better when he claimed a maiden Masters 1000 title at the Italian Open.
Such was the impressive nature of his performances that he was able to suppress Novak Djokovic in straight sets in the final to move into the top 10.
However, he suffered a disappointing first round exit at Roland Garros to Fernando Verdasco, fell to Federer in the final of the Halle Open and was a set away from the quarterfinals of Wimbledon if not for an inexplicable collapse in the deciding set against Milos Raonic.
Geared up for Flushing Meadows
His U.S. hard court season, meanwhile, began in the best possible fashion with a title at the Citi Open.
News broke after Wimbledon that the 20-year-old had appointed former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero to work alongside his father and the Spaniard was treated to a welcome induction.
Although the field in Montreal had been decimated by injuries he still showed sublime poise to save a match point against Gasquet in the first round and go on to oust Roger Federer, 6-3, 6-4, in the final.
The only blot on his copybook came against the rising American Frances Tiafoe at the Cincinnati Masters but that could turn out to be a blessing in disguise considering the German admitted to ‘fatigue’ afterward.
The 20-year-old certainly wields the talent to stamp his authority on the tour but does he possess the gut on the grandest stage of them all?