TennisSection previews the 2021 Rome Open as Rafael Nadal (2) meets Alexander Zverev (6) in the Quarter-finals on Friday, May 14th, 2021.
Will Alexander Zverev make it 4 wins in a row against Rafael Nadal after being able to beat the Spaniard just last week in Madrid? Will Rafael Nadal get his revenge for that tough loss as he looks to continue improving on the clay? Both players can win this match if they are on top of their game, but only one will make their way to the Semi-finals of the 2021 Rome Open. Who will it be?
Alexander Zverev came through a very tight 3-set match against Kei Nishikori in the Round of 16, coming back from a set down to beat the Japanese star 4-6/6-3/6-4. To be quite honest, Zverev was just able to hang in the match long enough for Kei Nishikori to choke. Kei was the much better player throughout the majority of the match, and was even 4-1 up in the final set. However, he got tight and the unforced errors just began to come out. Alexander Zverev was just taking the easy opportunities to win the match in the end. Now, Zverev will want to see if he can beat Rafael Nadal twice in two weeks, but in these slower and higher bouncing conditions will he be able to?
Rafael Nadal showed everyone his amazing fighting spirit in the Round of 16, coming back from a set down, 3-0(30-40) down, 3-1(40-0) down, 3-1 down (in the third set), and two match points down towards the end of the third set to beat Denis Shapovalov in 3 extremely tight sets 3-6/6-4/7-6. Denis Shapovalov was throwing the kitchen sink at Rafael Nadal throughout that entire match, but Rafa was just able to make sure he won the most important points in the key moments. That match was very important for Rafael Nadal because he was able to focus a lot on his movement around the court due to Denis Shapovalov’s amazing lefty game. Nadal will now want to get revenge against Alexander Zverev in a tournament where the conditions better suit him.
Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev have met 8 times before, with Rafael Nadal leading the head to head 5-3. Their last 3 meeting have all been won by Zverev however, and just last week in Madrid, Zverev won 6-4/6-4. Although Zverev won against Rafa last week, Madrid has not always been Rafa’s strong tournament due to the high altitude suiting bigger servers. Here at the 2021 Rome Open, the higher bouncing, increased spin, sea level conditions suit Rafa much more than Zverev (which was clearly seen as Zverev struggled against Kei, compared to last week where he cruised past him). I still expect a tough fight because Zverev will have the confidence, but I expect Rafa to get his revenge.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Rafael Nadal to Win.