Alexander Zverev enjoys the crowd cheers after defeating Lloyd Harris ...

Alexander Zverev enjoys the crowd cheers after defeating Lloyd Harris  in their U.S. Open quarterfinal at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday. Credit: Errol Anderson

Alexander Zverev had some work to do in his U.S. Open quarterfinal against Lloyd Harris on Wednesday, winning a first set tiebreaker before eventually advancing, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3, 6-4.

It was enough to secure the No. 4 seed and reigning Olympic gold medalist a berth in the semifinals against the winner of the late quarterfinal between Novak Djokovic and Matteo Berrettini.

Zverev widely has been viewed as one of the players with a realistic chance to end Djokovic’s attempt to sweep all four 2021 Grand Slams, so if Djokovic were to advance it would set up an interesting semifinal.

Djokovic lost to Zverev in the Olympic semifinals in Tokyo this summer, a victory that Zverev said meant more to him than others against Djokovic because of the magnitude of the event and the fact he had to come back to win.

"I feel like I was the first player to beat him in a very big match this year," Zverev said.

He said of facing Djokovic, "You have to be perfect, otherwise you will not win . . . He is the best player in the world. He’s very difficult to beat."

Zverev’s only Grand Slam final came at the Open last year, in a mostly empty Arthur Ashe Stadium. Dominic Thiem came back from two sets down and defeated him in a wild match, 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6).

Had a match that exciting been played in a normal year, Zverev said, "The crowd would have gone insane."

The return of fans this year, he said, "is so much more fun, so much more entertaining."

Rabman loses in 2nd round of doubles

Port Washington’s Theadora Rabman and her partner, Ariana Pursoo, lost in the second round of the junior girls doubles tournament. No. 7 seeds Mara Guth and Julia Middendorf beat them, 6-1, 6-4.

For the third day in a row, Rabman had a cheering section dedicated to her every success, this time on Court 12.

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