Rafael Nadal beats Alexander Zverev in straight sets in Italian Open quarter-final

Rafael Nadal ended a run of three straight losses to Alexander Zverev with a convincing 6-3, 6-4 win over the German to reach the Italian Open semifinals.

Rafael Nadal in a file photo. (Image: Twitter/ATP Tour)

The second-ranked tennis player in the world, Rafael Nadal, secured a comfortable victory against sixth-ranked Alexander Zverev in the quarter-final of the Italian Open on Friday. Nadal won straight sets to make short work of the German and has set up a semi-final date against USA’s Reilley Opelka in the semi-final. The nine-time Italian Open champion will attempt to move into double figures in terms of tournament victories, to further strengthen his legacy as one of the greatest tennis players in the history of the sport. Nadal took the game 6-3 6-4 in what could be categorized as an interesting result. Zverev had defeated Nadal 6-4 6-4 only a week back in the Madrid Open. Fans might have expected a closer contest between the two.

THE MATCH

The Spaniard started strongly in the first set as he controlled the centre of the court and was consistently successful behind his second set return. He established a dominating 4-0 lead right at the beginning. However, Zverev did manage to stage a strong comeback as he brought the score to 5-3. Nadal then targeted the German’s backhand to save break point and convert his first set point.

It was Zverev who started with intent during the second set, as he was up 2-1 and leading 40-0 in the fourth game. However, Nadal managed to play himself out of trouble and carried that momentum for the rest of the set and saved a further five break points to take the game home.

“(I am) happy. I played a very solid match with not many mistakes, playing the way that I have to,” the Spaniard said in the post-match interview. “(It is) an important victory for me against a great player.”

Rafa is only a couple of wins away from writing his name in the history books yet again. He will equal Novak Djokovic’s 36 ATP Masters 1000 titles should he win the Italian Open. It will also be the fourth time the Spaniard has won 10 or more titles at a single tournament. He has already won 13 Roland Garros titles, 12 Barcelona titles, and 11 Monte-Carlo titles.

SEMI-FINAL SHOWDOWN

It will be Nadal’s 12th semi-final in Rome and he will look to extend his 11-0 semi-final winning streak at the Foro Italico. His opponent will be first-time ATP Masters 1000 semi-finalist Reilly Opelka. The Spaniard, however, is not taking his opponent lightly, as was evident from his post-match interview.

“(I will face) a big chance against a player who has almost an unreturnable serve. (Reilly) is playing well,” he said. “I need to be very focussed with my serve and then try to be ready to accept (the situation) and be (engaged) on the return. That is what I am looking for,” the Spaniard concluded.




WRITTEN BY
Sportslumo Desk

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