Miami: Fourth seed Alexander Zverev overcame a slow start on Thursday to wear down Borna Coric 6-4, 6-4 and set up a Miami Open semi-final against Pablo Carreno Busta, who earlier defeated Kevin Anderson.
After a power failure delayed the start of the match by more than an hour, Zverev faced two break points in the second game but then settled down and took command.
One break in each set was enough for the German to clinch his first win in three career attempts against the Croat.
Zverev advances to a Friday semi-final against Spanish 16th seed Carreno Busta, who survived a match point to upset South African sixth seed Anderson 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(6).
The other semi-final pits Argentine fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro against American 14th seed John Isner.
Zverev did not use the power failure as an excuse for his slow start.
“I didn’t particularly care,” he said, adding that he spent the time watching an NBA game on a locker room television.
“I think I lost the first six points of the match. It wasn’t the best start. I’m just happy to get through.”
Zverev remains on target for his third ATP Masters title after producing a supremely solid display against Coric.
The German world number five was excellent value for this deserved victory against Coric who was ultimately overpowered and outmaneuvered.
Zverev, who enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2017 after winning the Italian Open in Rome and the Canada Masters by beating Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer respectively, is keen for more of the same at Key Biscayne.
"The times we played before, he just better than me," said Zverev, who will move to number three in the world if he manages to win Sunday’s final.
"I am really happy to have made it through against him. Carreno Busta will be a very difficult match, he’s playing really well now.
"It is going to be a big test but I am looking forward to it."
Zverev emerged victorious after just 84 minutes, executing the perfect balance between pressurizing the Coric serve, and comfortably holding his own.
Zverev, 20, had lost both his previous matches against the 21-year-old Croatian, at Cincinnati in 2015 and two years later at the US Open. Yet the German started well in the bid to finally get to the Miami last four after losing at this stage for the previous two years.
With his serve reaching 137 mph, he was able to keep Coric in check while adopting the an aggressive mindset.
Carreno Busta outlasts Anderson
For Carreno Busta, who arrived on court in fine form having dropped only 12 games over his previous tee matches, the win was his first in five meetings against Anderson and avenged his fourth-round Indian Wells loss to the world number eight.
“It was an amazing match, no?” Carreno Busta said.
“He played some unbelievable points, passing shots.
“I lost to him, 7-6 in the third set (at Indian Wells). And today, well, at the beginning of the match I started playing really good, returning good, serving good, being very aggressive.”
Anderson saved a pair of match points in the second set and shifted momentum in his favour but Carreno Busta, seeded 16th at Crandon Park, regrouped in the decider where the two players stayed on serve until the tiebreak.
Carreno Busta was staring at defeat when 6-5 down in the tiebreak but was let off the hook when Anderson missed with a forehand.
From there the South African pushed a backhand volley wide and then mishit a second serve that handed the win to Carreno Busta after two hours, 42 minutes.
Anderson, whose year already includes an ATP Tour title at the New York Open and runner-up finishes in Acapulco and Pune, has now lost all 10 of his quarter-final matches at the Masters 1000 level - the highest-tiered tournaments after the four grand slams.
"It was difficult to lose two match points, but I just needed to keep going," Carreno Busta said. "I am so happy. The support of the crowd was fantastic."
Carreno Busta certainly played the more consistent tennis and is now 2-21 against top-10 opponents.
While Anderson licks his wounds, 19th ranked Carreno Busta can look forward to a semi-final clash with either German Alexander Zverev or Croatia's Borna Coric.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Mar 30, 2018 09:32:46 IST