German sixth seed Alexander Zverev reached the semi-finals of the French Open for the first time with a straight-set win against Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
Zverev, 24, won 6-4 6-1 6-1 to set up a meeting in the last four with Stefanos Tsitsipas or Daniil Medvedev.
Greek fifth seed Tsitsipas meets world number two Medvedev later on Tuesday.
Like Zverev, the pair are also aiming to win their first Grand Slam by lifting the title in Paris on Sunday.
“It is very nice to be in the semi-finals but just being there doesn’t satisfy me,” Zverev said.
“I am playing pretty OK and hope to play the same way – and even better – in the semi-finals.”
Zverev still looking for improvement after one-sided win
Zverev has long been touted as a future Grand Slam champion, coming the closest to achieving his goal when he lost to Dominic Thiem in the 2020 US Open final after leading by two sets.
With Tsitsipas or Medvedev able to stop him reaching a second major final, plus the prospect of facing Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal in Sunday’s showpiece, there is still a tricky path ahead for the German.
Those opponents are likely to provide many more problems than 46th-ranked Davidovich Fokina.
Davidovich Fokina, 22, is known as one of the tour’s fittest players and says having Spanish former marathon world champion Martin Fiz in his team gives him the mentality of a long-distance runner.
However, he was unable to hook Zverev into a drawn-out battle after an error-strewn performance.
Attritional was perhaps the kindest way to describe an opening set where neither man could find fluency and both struggled on serve.
With both players landing less than 45% of their first serves, there were seven breaks between them and the set tipped in the favour of Zverev when his opponent meekly surrendered again in the 10th game.
Errors continued to flow from Davidovich Fokina in the second set as he was unable to contain Zverev’s power.
After exchanging holds in the first two games, Zverev won the next seven games to clinch a two-set lead and go a break ahead in the third.
Confidence had long been drained from the Spaniard, who looked to be tiring physically and mentally having spent almost four hours more on court than his opponent during the tournament, and Zverev continued to be ruthless.
Heavy and precise hitting from the back of the court enabled him to win what proved to be the final four games, landing a perfect backhand winner to claim victory in one hour and 36 minutes.
“After the first set, I think my baseline game improved a lot and I started dominating the points a lot more,” said Zverev.
“In the beginning I don’t think I played that well. I think I can play a lot better.”