German Mischa Zverev pulled off a major upset at the 2017 Australian Open on January 22 in the Round of 16.
Zverev, the underdog and No. 50-ranked player in the world by the ATP, stunned Andy Murray of Great Britain 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 to move on to the Quarterfinals where he will play the winner of Rodger Federer and Kei Nishikori in their Round of 16 match.
In the match, Murray dropped his serve eight times, leading to plenty frustration. And the Zverev took advantage of it, cruising to a bit win in the third set and capping it with a 6-4 win in the fourth and decisive set.
Here’s what you need to know about Zverev and his stunning upset:
1. Zverev’s Younger Brother is Also on The Tour
Zverev’s younger brother, Alexander Zverev Jr. was on hand to witness his brother’s upset of Murray. He played January 20 in the Australian Open, but was eliminated by Rafael Nadal of Spain in the Round of 32.
Coming into the tournament, Alexander was ranked higher — No. 24 in the world according to ATP — than his elder brother in singles.
Alexander, who is just 19-years old has won one title in his career, the St. Petersburg Open against Stan Wawrinka.
The brothers’ dad is Alexander Zverev Sr., a former Russian tennis player.
2. Zverev Was Ranked Higher Than 1,000th 2 Years Ago
Two years ago, Mischa was ranked No. 1,067 in the world. He almost dropped out of the Emirates ATP rankings in March of 2015, the ATP wrote.
The dismal ranking was a far cry from his career-high No. 45 ranking he had in 2009. But a number of serious injuries halted whatever momentum he had, dropping him to No. 1,067 in the world.
In the interview with the ATP, Zverev credited his younger brother for his comeback to the top 100.
A big factor was my brother because he really pushed me and he made me work hard again and try to do the best I can. He’s been doing really well the past couple of years and I didn’t want to be too far behind him. I think we helped each other because we practiced a lot together and tried to challenge each other and make each other better. I feel like I can still play well and do some damage here and there and I just tried to focus a little bit more.
Zverev’s turnaround was felt in 2016, qualifying for a career-high 10 ATP events and playing competitively and threatening high-ranking players such as No. 1 (at the time) Novak Djokovic at the Shanghai Rolex Masters.
3. Zverev Had a Successful Junior Career
Zverev had a solid junior career. He was ranked as high as No. 3 in the world and reached the semifinals of the U.S. Open to none other than Andy Murray.
In his time competing as a junior, he had a 123-50 record in singles and a 79-33 record in doubles.
4. Zverev Turned Professional in 2006
Following his success as a junior, Zverev turned pro in fall of 2006.
He started his career as a pro strong, being ranked in the top 200 in 2006 and later in the year entered the top 100 rankings for the first time of his young career, No. 99.
Zverev continued on the success and reached the third round at Wimbledon in 2008 but retired in his third-round match against Stan Wawrinka.
But a series of injuries plagued his success, suffering a wrist fracture in 2010.
He rebounded strong from the injury and finished the year ranked No. 82, going 12-18 during the year. But once again, the rise was short lived, as Zverev didn’t play any ATP events from 2012-2015.
In 2016, he returned to the ATP court better than ever, winning his first ATP Challeneger singles title in eight years. He showed promise the rest of the year, pulling a number of big match wins off, including an upset of Wawrinka — ranked No. 3 in the world at the time — at the Vienna Open.
5. Zverev Had Never Advanced Past the 2nd Round of The Australian Open
Zverev had qualified for the Australian Open numerous times throughout his career, but never advanced past the second round — being eliminated in the round in 2007.
In 2016, Zverev won his first two qualifying matches, but lost to Taylor Fritz of the United States, 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-4 and was eliminated. His quarterfinal win against Murray was arguably the biggest win of his decade-long career.