The men’s Italian Open final will be competed by the No.1 and No.2 seeds in the draw as Alexander Zverev looks to defend his title from last year. He plays Rafael Nadal, who is seeking to win the title in Rome for the first time since 2013 and the eighth time overall.
Zverev is in stunning form recently with a 13 match winning streak dating back to the opening round of Munich. He won the title there and in Madrid last week, taking advantage of the exit of Nadal for another Masters 1000 title. There was little between he and Marin Cilic in their semi final match up with both players dominant on serve and breaks at a premium. The German delivered on key points, saving 5 set points in the first and breaking when up 6-5 in the second for a 7-6(13) 7-5 victory.
Nadal moved to 25-26 against Novak Djokovic with a straight sets win over his biggest rival on Saturday. The Serbian did put up a test for Nadal early but when it came to the opening set tiebreak, Nadal pulled away to eventually win 7-6 6-3. “It was a tough battle, I think a good level of tennis,” Nadal said afterwards. “A combination of tactics, a combination of great shots for both of us. [It’s a] very important victory for me. I’m very happy.”
“There’s not much you need to say about him [Rafa]. He’s won so many tournaments on this surface, won the French Open 10 times, so I’m definitely not the favourite in this matchup, but hopefully I’ll be ready for it. I’ll do everything I can to recover and we’ll see tomorrow how it goes.”” said Zverev, who knows his chances are limited. The Davis Cup match earlier in the year seemed a match prime for an upset with Nadal beginning his return from injury. However, the German was barely in the match and lost in straight sets fairly easily to fall to 0-4 against the No.1 seed. Zverev has bounced back from that loss incredibly well and could be primed to make a huge statement heading into the French Open if he can pull off the shock win here.
Prediction – Rafael Nadal in straight sets