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Olympic Men's Tennis 2021: Time, Schedule for Zverev vs. Khachanov

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 31, 2021

Alexander Zverev, of Germany, serves to Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, during the semifinal round of the men's tennis competition at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 30, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Alexander Zverev produced the biggest win of the men's tennis season to reach the men's singles final at the Tokyo Olympics. 

The German player downed Novak Djokovic in the semifinal round to set up a gold-medal clash with Karen Khachanov. 

Zverev's win took away Djokovic's chances of winning the "Golden Slam," which is all four Grand Slams and the Olympic tournament. 

Instead, the top-ranked player in the world will have to focus on winning his fourth Grand Slam of the year at the U.S. Open. Djokovic lost the bronze-medal match to Pablo Carreno Busta on Saturday morning. 

Khachanov has battled his way through the bracket in Tokyo, as he has four three-set victories in five matches. At minimum, he is battle-tested for his Saturday night showdown with Zverev.

      

Olympic Men's Tennis Final Info

Date: Saturday, July 31

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Start Time: 11 p.m. ET 

TV: Olympic Channel

Live Stream: NBCOlympics.com and NBC Sports app

     

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Zverev carries the better ranking and Grand Slam history on his resume compared to Khachanov, but the two are on level terms when it comes to head-to-head matches. 

In fact, Khachanov won the last two battles between the players at ATP Tour Masters events in Canada and Paris. Both matches took place on hard courts. 

One of Zverev's two wins over Khachanov came in their lone Grand Slam meeting at Roland-Garros in 2018. Zverev outlasted the Russian player in five sets and won the final two frames by a 6-3 scoreline. 

Zverev should win the match, but he has to avoid an emotional letdown after defeating the best men's player in the world in the semifinal round. 

The German No. 4 seed took down Djokovic fairly easily in the second and third sets, as he held the Serb to four-game victories. 

While that may have felt like a final, it was only a semifinal to secure one type of medal. To win the gold, Zverev needs to get past a tricky top-20 player.

Khachanov defeated Pablo Carreno Busta, Ugo Humbert and Diego Schwartzman in the last three rounds to have a chance at the gold medal.

Carreno Busta, Humbert and Schwartzman are all solid players who have advanced far at Grand Slam tournaments, but they reside on a lower tier in the men's game than Zverev. 

Zverev has come close to capturing his first major title on a few occasions in the last few years. He reached the 2020 U.S. Open final and reached the semifinal at the 2020 Australian Open and Wimbledon earlier this month. 

Zverev proved against Djokovic that he has the power to defeat any of the best players in the men's game, but he will be in for a fight against Khachanov.

The No. 12 seed has not made life easy for any of his opponents, and most of his matches have been of the grind-it-out variety.

Khachanov's two career victories over Zverev should give him some extra confidence going into the match that he can win the gold medal. 

Zverev should still be the favored player, but expect the gold-medal match to go the three-set distance considering how well both men are performing in Japan.

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