Preview: Tiafoe & Zverev Face Off For Fourth-Round Spot

Preview: Tiafoe & Zverev Face Off For Fourth-Round Spot
By: ATP World Tour Posted On: June 02, 2023 View: 92

The third-round action draws to a close Saturday at Roland Garros, where Frances Tiafoe and Alexander Zverev meet in an intriguing matchup at the clay-court major. Top 10 stars Casper Ruud, Holger Rune and Taylor Fritz are also in action as they chase a fourth-round berth in the bottom half of the draw.

ATPTour.com looks ahead at some standout matches from the Day 7 schedule in Paris.

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[12] Frances Tiafoe (USA) vs. [22] Alexander Zverev (GER)

A first clay-court meeting between Tiafoe and Zverev will bring two of the biggest baseline hitters on Tour together on Court Philippe Chatrier. The two-time semi-finalist Zverev has impressed upon returning to Roland Garros for the first time since he retired from his 2022 semi-final against Rafael Nadal after rolling his ankle, notching straight-sets victories against Lloyd Harris and Alex Molcan.

Zverev leads Tiafoe 6-1 in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series, but the pair has not met since 2021 in Vienna. Since then, Tiafoe has risen to the brink of the Top 10 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and reached his maiden Grand Slam semi-final at the 2022 US Open. Now into the third round at Roland Garros for the first time, can the World No. 12 down Zverev for another breakthrough at a major tournament?

[4] Casper Ruud [NOR] vs. Zhang Zhizhen (CHN)

Last year’s finalist Ruud has made a fast start to his latest Roland Garros campaign. The Norwegian has shown signs of rediscovering his best level in recent weeks after a modest first few months of the season, and he deployed his powerful forehand to great effect against Elias Ymer and Giulio Zeppieri in Paris to reach the third round for the fifth consecutive year.

The fourth seed’s next challenge is a maiden ATP Head2Head meeting with Zhang Zhizhen. The Chinese star is yet to drop a set on his main draw debut in Paris, where he has impressively backed up his run to his maiden ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final in Madrid last month. Zhang’s ability to match the depth of Ruud’s groundstrokes could be key, with the Norwegian one of the most clinical on Tour at pouncing on any short balls.

[6] Holger Rune (DEN) vs. [Q] Genaro Alberto Olivieri (ARG)

Rune competes for the first time since Tuesday after his second-round opponent Gael Monfils withdrew due to a wrist injury, and the sixth seed will hope to find his rhythm quickly as he seeks to reach the fourth round at a major for the third time by beating qualifier Genaro Alberto Olivieri. Rune is 14-3 on clay this year after reaching finals in Monte-Carlo and Rome either side of a title run in Munich, and he holds fond memories of Roland Garros after reaching the quarter-finals on event debut a year ago.

Olivieri is enjoying a breakout run of his own this year in Paris. He had not played a tour-level main draw match prior to this week, but the 24-year-old saw off Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard in five sets and Andrea Vavassori in four to earn his clash with Rune on Court Philippe-Chatrier. It will be the Argentine’s first match against a Top 10 opponent.

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Also In Action…

Alongside Ruud and Rune, Taylor Fritz is the other Top 10 star in action on Friday. The American faces 24th seed Francisco Cerundolo on Court Suzanne-Lenglen. Daniel Altmaier looks to back up his second-round upset of Jannik Sinner against 28th seed Grigor Dimitrov and Daniil Medvedev’s conquerer Thiago Seyboth Wild aims to extend his run against Yoshihito Nishioka.

Borna Coric is the other seeded player in third-round action. The Croatian meets Tomas Martin Etcheverry, while three-time clay-court ATP Tour titlist Nicolas Jarry plays Marcos Giron.

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