After winning his first round match against Nishioka in Washington rising star Alexander Zverev has set up a round two meeting against Kevin Anderson who has had a very good year on the tour so far.
This will be the first time these two have met and it will be interesting to see the match and how Zverev deals with the big serve of Anderson and if he can control rallies.
I watched Zverev recently and I do believe he can be a very good player but I’m not sure whether he has a game right now which can cause trouble for Anderson. Zverev went 4-0 down v Robredo in Hamburg not long ago but did end up winning the set 7-6 after a good comeback but something I noticed was an issue with the backhand especially whilst defending.
Above I have put together Zverev behind the baseline using the two handed backhand and attacking inside the baseline using it and the German definitely has more joy attacking off it than he does defending. Red shows a defending backhand and yellow shows an attacking one. With the red I believe it’s a good defensive weapon but trying to generate depth and power from a metre or two behind the baseline is very difficult however on a more attacking side this shot gives you more options as shown with the yellow lines as the court is open to aim at any spot you’d like. In my opinion especially on a hard court and against the power of Anderson I’d be looking to sit just on or just behind/inside the baseline and not a couple of metres behind.
I believe his best weapon is the one handed forehand. It’s less predictable than the backhand and the pace and depth he gets on the shot at times is incredible!
I’ve put this graphic together showing the forehand of Zverev in the first set v Robredo at Hamburg. You can see the angles he creates with this shot are incredible and the two red lines show forehand winners both of which were in the tie-break the yellow lines just show great forehands which weren’t winners but a majority went on to set up winners off the backhand.
As well as his own strength’s he is going to have to somehow battle the Anderson serve.
Not only do you have to deal with the speed of the serve over 130mph but the bounce on the serve as well. I watched a clip of him serving against David Ferrer at Indian Wells a couple of years ago and Ferrer is 175cm tall and the ball bounced at least 185cm in air which is incredible so you have to make sure your court position is deep behind the baseline and not trying to take it on or committing to either side too early.
When returning the serve as well you have to make sure you try and get good depth on the ball otherwise Anderson will step inside the baseline and find the gap and produce a winner/force an error.
Who will win this encounter? I’m going with Zverev in three sets but only just…