World number three Rafael Nadal will hope to hit form when he takes on Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals of the 2021 Italian Open on Friday, May 14. Get the live streaming options of this Rafael Nadal v Alexander Zverev match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Rafael Nadal v Alexander Zverev Head to Head
This is an interesting match-up. Eight matches have been played between them and Nadal leads 5-3 but with the Spaniard having won their first five matches and Zverev clinching the next three.
On clay, the record reads 2-1 in favour of Nadal, with the world number three having won the Rome Masters 2018 title and Zverev defeating him as recently as last week at the Madrid Masters.
Nadal Comes Back from the Dead
He is a nine-time champion, the best ever there has been on clay and yet Nadal was stretched to the limits by Denis Shapovalov in their third round encounter.
So much to, Nadal needed to save two match-points after he went down a set and was down 3-0 in the second before turning things around. That change happened after Nadal held on to his serve to reduce the deficit to 3-1 despite facing a break-point and then broke Shapovalov twice in a row to take control of the situation.
Shapovalov wasn’t done though as he took a 3-1 lead again only to drop serve, then saved three break-points at 5-5 in the final set. Nadal endured one match-point on his own serve but came through to push the set into a tie-breaker which he then easily won 7-3.
The big worry will be Nadal’s form on clay which has been scratchy at best all season despite a Barcelona Open title. And facing an opponent who has confidence rocketing high and coming off a title in Madrid last season, we could be looking at the Spaniard needing to pull out a rabbit out of the hat.
Zverev Knocks Kei Out
There was trouble for Zverev too when he took on Japan’s Kei Nishikori in round three but the German found a way to dig himself out of his hole and claim his quarterfinal spot.
Needing two hours and 53 minutes, Zverev registered his seventh win in a row when he overcame Nishikori 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to set up the Nadal meeting.
Zverev blew an early break in the first set to go a set down and then fell behind 3-1 in the second set, staring at the wrong end of the barrel. Fortunately for the world number six, his confidence from recent showings seem to help as Zverev roared back to level at 3-3.
He broke yet again for a 5-3 lead and completed the equaliser off the fifth set-point he got.
The same script followed in the final set too as Nishikori was quicker off the blocks to get the first break but Zverev first got the levelling break in the seventh game and then a decisive one in the ninth.
The question now is whether the German can dish out a result not too many would dream of, let alone do – wins in back to back weeks over Nadal on clay.
Nadal v Zverev Prediction and Tip
This one would be a tough match to call. On form it’s difficult to look beyond Zverev but Nadal is Nadal on clay. Looking at a three-setter in this one.