‘Rafael Nadal is never easy to beat,’ Alexander Zverev recalls
Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev have met each other ten times. The Spaniard claimed victories in their opening five clashes before the German scored three consecutive wins, including one on clay. Alexander toppled Rafa at the 2019 ATP Finals, and they faced each other a year later at the Paris Masters.
Zverev used indoor conditions to earn his second consecutive victory over Nadal, beating him 6-4, 7-5 for a place in the seventh Masters 1000 final. After conquering two titles in Cologne, the German came to the French capital and reached the third consecutive final.
Nadal could not find a solution for Zverev’s serve, allowing his rival to hit many service winners and suffer only one break. Rafa got broken three times to lose ground and propel Alexander over the top. Zverev grabbed a break in the opener’s third game and forged a 3-1 advantage after an unreturned serve after 14 minutes.
Nadal landed a backhand down the line winner at 2-4 to stay in touch before Zverev claimed the set with a drop shot winner at 5-4, hoping for more of the same in the second.
Alexander Zverev defeated Rafael Nadal in straight sets at the 2020 Paris Masters.
Rafa got broken at 1-1 in set number two following a weak volley to find himself in a challenging position.
The Spaniard wasted two break opportunities at 2-3 after two winners from the German. Serving at 2-4, Nadal fended off four break points to stay within one break deficit and returned to the positive side with a break in game eight.
Rafa held at love for the first time to forge a 5-4 advantage and send the pressure to the other side of the court. Alexander landed an ace to grab the tenth game and earned a break chance in the next one after a lucky net cord winner.
Nadal gave serve away when his backhand landed wide, and Zverev held at 15 a few minutes later to move over the top. “I had many chances in set number two, particularly at 4-2. I failed to convert them, and those moments can turn the match around, especially against players like Rafa.
I picked up my level at 4-5, and everything went well. I feel good, reaching the Masters 1000 final and beating Rafa; that is never easy to do, and all the players would agree with me. I have been playing well since the season’s restart.
I’m happy to be on the court. Everything is good for me, and I’m satisfied with my tennis; I hope it will remain that way. As long as you still have a smile at the end of the day, I think that’s the most important in life,” Alexander Zverev said.