In a match that has the potential to be one of the best in the tournament so far, Alexander Zverev faces Rafael Nadal in the last match of the day session on Rod Laver Arena. The match takes on added importance with the bottom half of the draw being blown wide open by the second round exit of Novak Djokovic. Nadal will be amongst the favourites to make the final alongside Milos Raonic.
Nadal has had an easy time of it the first two rounds, winning in straights against Florian Mayer and Marcos Baghdatis. While neither have the game to truly trouble Nadal for the most part, the stress-free nature of both victories can only be a good thing in raising the Spaniard’s confidence. “I have been working great. I know I have been working a lot and very well. I have been practising at a high level.” he said.
After struggling in his opening round, coming from 1-2 and a break down, Zverev was much better in round two. He progressed easily with a straight sets win over Frances Tiafoe in the battle of the 19 year olds. Nadal is big on Zverev’s potential saying “He’s a player that is for sure one of the next Grand Slam winners. He has a big chance to become the future world No. 1, no? If he’s able to keep improving the way that he’s doing, I don’t have doubt that his potential is so, so high. He has all the shots: great serve, great forehand, great backhand, everything.”
Their one meeting so far was at Indian Wells last year was a thriller with Nadal coming out on top 7-5 in the final set. Zverev served for the match at 5-3, blowing a match point after netting a routine volley. Zverev will move to a career high ranking if he wins both this match and the next against either Gael Monfils or Philipp Kohlschreiber. The German has improved at an impressive rate over the past 12 months and avenging that Indian Wells loss would suggest he is getting closer to seriously threatening the top players in the game on a regular basis.
Rafael Nadal in five sets
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