Wimbledon 2024: Taylor Fritz wins the battle of the big servers to knock out Alexander Zverev

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Taylor Fritz had predicted his fourth-round match against Alexander Zverev was “going to come down to serve and return”.

For two players over 6ft 5in tall, it was hardly the most outlandish of predictions but more unpredictably it was the American who won their slug fest coming back from two sets down for a 4-6, 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 6-3 victory.

Zverev was the only player left in the men’s singles draw who had not dropped serve all Wimbledon.

And he kept that record intact and looked to be cruising to victory only for his game to capitulate and Fritz to seize his chance when he looked set to be packing his bags and heading back to the US.

It means Zverev maintains his record of never having made it past the fourth round at the All England Club despite seemingly having the ideal game for grass and being among the players talked about as potential title winners.

In his defence, he had started the match with a knee support after taking a nasty fall in his preceding match but the knee did not seem to impinge him until perhaps the latter exchanges.

Despite five sets and some three-and-a-half hours, this was not one for the purists and far from a Wimbledon classic, the early games providing rallies of three at the most.

Zverev was pushed to deuce when leading 4-3 but his 136mph serves got him out of danger. The very next game he picked up two break points of his own, warranting a shout of “let’s go” in response. Fritz saved one but not the other and the set was rapidly concluded in 35 minutes.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

With the German seemingly dialled in, Fritz began to start missing a few shots and did well to take the second set to a tiebreak but his opponent got the mini break to lead 3-1 in the shootout and the gap was never closed.

The first chink in the Zverev serve came in game nine of the third set when he double faulted when defending two break points. It brought echoes of the Zverev of old when he could be curtailed by a case of the yips on serve.

Any sense it might shift the momentum of the match proved unfounded as Zverev once again returned to his relentless serving and his American rival did well simply to stay in the match.

The tiebreak looked a formality for the world No4 and yet somehow Fritz produced a stunning shoot-out for a 6-1 lead. Zverev clawed back two points but Fritz took the match to a deciding set at the third time of asking.

Buoyed by levelling the match, Fritz came alive while Zverev faltered and was broken, the match aptly ending with a solid serve from Fritz to book his place in the quarter-finals for a second time.

Of recovering two sets down to win, he said: “I felt like I was still playing really well for being down two sets. It sucked to be playing this well and losing in three but I took thethird.”