Paris: Alexander Zverev insisted that losing to Damir Dzumhur at the French Open on Friday never crossed his mind — he was more concerned by what he could have for lunch.
The German second seed saved a match point and survived a second successive Roland Garros scare, coming back to defeat Bosnia's Dzumhur 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (3), 7-5 to reach the fourth round for the first time.
Despite the pressure of attempting to become the first German men's champion since 1937, and of trying to prevent Rafael Nadal's expected coronation as an 11-time French Open winner, 21-year-old Zverev shrugged off fears of another Grand Slam let down.
"Mainly I was thinking what I was going to have for lunch," said Zverev as he reflected on overcoming Dzumhur who had a match point in the 10th game of the fifth set, having also served for the match at 6-5 in the fourth.
"You try to win each point, you try to win each game. When you're down a match point, you're not thinking, Oh, how am I going to turn this match around?
"You're trying to win that exact point to be able to continue the match.
"That's more what's going on in your head. It's not about, I'm going to try to do this, try to do that in the third set, I'm going to do this in the fourth set or something like that. That's not the way it is."
Having needed five sets to see off Serbia's Dusan Lajovic in the second round, the German endured another nightmare outing before claiming victory after almost four hours on Court Philippe Chatrier.
He hit 73 unforced errors, dropped serve eight times and served up seven double faults before setting up a last-16 duel against either Lucas Pouille or Russia's Karen Khachanov.
"It was an amazing, high-level match," added Zverev.
"It was the first time I have won on this court and I hope there are many more to come."
Dzumhur, the 26th seed, was left to regret squandering a host of opportunities.
He served for the match at 6-5 in the fourth set only to be broken to love before battling back from 1-3 down in the decider to go to match point at 5-5.
That was saved by a nerveless out-wide serve from the German who held, then broke for 6-5 before claiming victory when the Bosnian hit long.
Dzumhur finished with 51 winners — the same as Zverev — but 68 unforced errors and was broken nine times.
"All I could do was keep fighting," said Zverev who has now equalled his best ever Slam performance after also making the fourth round at Wimbledon last year.
"He served for the match and I had to save lots of break points in the fourth and fifth sets.
"Sometimes you have to battle to get the win and that's what I did today."
For Zverev it was a 33rd win of the season, the best figures on the tour which has also yielded clay court titles in Munich and Madrid as well as a runners-up spot to Nadal in Rome.
In a dramatic — if error-plagued match — there was a worrying moment when Dzumhur accidentally collided with a ball boy as they both chased an airborne dead ball after two games of the fourth set.
The distressed youngster needed to leave Court Philippe Chatrier after receiving a consoling hug from the Bosnian player.
"I made a few mistakes which I really shouldn't," said Dzumhur.
"But that's tennis. And that's why he's one of the best players today."
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Updated Date: Jun 01, 2018 23:39:08 IST