Zverev Beats Nadal To Reach Paris Final
The fourth seed entered the match with a 1-5 ATP Head2Head record against the legendary lefty. But the 23-year-old crafted an impressive serving performance behind 13 aces to reach his seventh ATP Masters 1000 final.
Zverev, a three-time Masters 1000 champion, is on a 12-match winning streak following back-to-back titles in Cologne. He has won 21 of his 23 matches since the start of the US Open, where he reached his first Grand Slam final.
"I think I picked up my level at 4-5 down in the second set again and then it all went well," Zverev said. "I'm happy to be in the final."
Zverev halted Nadal’s pursuit of a maiden Paris-Bercy title. The Spaniard was also trying to tie Novak Djokovic’s record of 36 Masters 1000 titles.
The key for most of the match was Zverev’s dominance on serve. The German won his first eight service games, using a high first-serve percentage to maintain control of rallies.
But as always, Nadal tried to find a solution, and he did so successfully towards the end of the second set. The World No. 2 tried to break Zverev’s serving rhythm, moving his return position way back to put more balls in play. That affected Zverev's first-serve percentage and allowed Nadal back into the match.
"I had a lot of chances in the second set. I think at 4-2 I had a 0/40 game on his serve, which I didn't win," Zverev said. "[In] those moments, the match can turn around, especially against Rafa. But I think I picked up my level at 4-5 down in the second set again and then it all went well. I'm happy to be in the final."
Zverev has at times struggled with his second serve under pressure, and he hit his first double fault of the match at 4-3, 30/30 in the second set. He then missed a crosscourt forehand passing shot wide, levelling the set.
The fourth seed did not panic though, continuing to stay patient and maintaining his ground on the baseline. Zverev broke for the third time in the last game of the match, advancing to the final when Nadal missed a crosscourt backhand.