Zverev on course for Rome defence

Alexander Zverev remained on course for a title defence at the Italian Open on Friday as he battled past the brave challenge of David Goffin in the quarter-final.

The 21-year old world number three defeated Goffin 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to set-up a last four meeting with fourth seed Marin Cilic

It was a 12th consecutive win for Zverev after tournament triumphs in Munich and last week’s Madrid Open.

Zverev started strongly, breaking Goffin in game three and losing just two points on serve as he took the first set.

The second followed a similar pattern, until game eight when two unforced errors gave Goffin an opportunity which he took full advantage of, breaking the German and then serving out to level the match.

That loss ended a run of 23 consecutive sets for Zverev, but he remained calm despite losing serve again at 2-2 in the decider, hitting straight back and then breaking Goffin again for a third and final time as he wrapped up the match in an hour and 49 minutes.

A semi-final tie with Cilic and a possible final with either Rafael Nadal or a revitalised Novak Djokovic stand in the way of a title defense and what would be an eighth ATP World Tour title for the young German.

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