Published: Mon, May 14, 2018
Science | By Joan Schultz

Why Alexander Zverev will STRUGGLE against Rafael Nadal at French Open - Rusedski

Why Alexander Zverev will STRUGGLE against Rafael Nadal at French Open - Rusedski

Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev meet in the final of the 2018 tennis Madrid Masters.

Thiem is chasing his first Masters 1000 title and the Austrian will start the final as favorite.

Earlier, Thiem beat South African Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 25 minutes, reports Efe.

MADRID-Canada's Denis Shapovalov dropped a 6-4, 6-1 decision to second-seeded Alexander Zverev in semifinal play Saturday at the Madrid Open. Nonetheless, Sunday's final promises to be a cracker of a contest as two of the most exciting young players on the circuit go head-to-head in the Spanish capital.

The 21-year-old became only the fifth active player to win at least three Masters 1000 titles - joining the "big four" of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

Asked if he feels at that level, the German replied: 'Rafa is the favorite no matter where he plays on a clay court.

"In general, the last 10 days have been pretty good, winning two titles in this time", Zverev said. Zverev won 79 percent of his total service points for the match and won 71 percent of his return points in the second set.

It was Zverev's second win in six meetings with Thiem. Thiem will need to maintain his level if he is to claim a first Masters 1000 title on Sunday although her does boast a 4-1 career head-to-head lead over Zverev.

Five-time Madrid victor Nadal, who will be bidding for an 11th French Open title in Paris later this month, had won his previous 21 matches on clay.

"Hopefully I can continue this kind of streak in Rome", Zverev told reporters.

Having not lost a set yet in the ongoing tournament, he will be hoping to better his record against Thiem.

A similar pattern followed in the second set with Thiem going wide off a straight-forward looking shot to gift Zverev a break point that was converted when a punishing forehand could only be returned into the net. "Almost everything worked out".

The showdown was a far cry from the 6-0, 6-2 beatdown Nadal had delivered to Thiem in Monte Carlo a few weeks ago, and it wasn't just because of the difference in altitude and conditions between the two locations. "Now, I'm in the final again, which is incredible to me".

"I think I placed myself in a good position".

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