Can Fritz’s backhand brilliance halt Zverev in Rome?

TDI’s Insights show Zverev has highest Performance Rating of all quarter-finalists
May 15, 2024
Taylor Fritz is No. 13 in the PIF ATP Rankings.
Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Taylor Fritz is No. 13 in the PIF ATP Rankings. By ATP Staff

Alexander Zverev and Taylor Fritz’s Internazionali BNL d'Italia quarter-final is likely to be decided by fine margins.

Both players have excelled en route to the last eight at the ATP Masters 1000 in Rome, where they will face off on Wednesday evening in their first tour-level meeting on clay. So for two players renowned for their big serving and powerful groundstrokes, what could be the keys to sealing a semi-final spot?

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Analysis from Tennis Data Innovations and Tennis Viz of all matches in Rome so far shows a clear disparity in the different Shot Quality categories between Zverev and Fritz. The third-seeded German edges his American opponent on serve, and in fact has the second-best Serve Quality of all the quarter-finalists aside from seventh seed Hubert Hurkacz.

Shot Quality Scores: Rome 2024 Quarter-finalists

The 2017 Rome titlist Zverev is also clear of Fritz in Return Quality (6.67 to 6.20) and Forehand Quality (8.41 to 7.16), but that is not to say that the American holds no clear advantages heading into the match. Fritz’s Backhand Quality score in Rome is the best of the eight quarter-finalists, and by a clear margin. His score of 8.07 is most closely matched by Zhang Zhizhen’s 7.36, while Zverev’s score is down at 7.22.

Further TDI Insights suggest that Zverev and Fritz’s quarter-final is too close to call. The pair’s In Attack (Zverev 27.6%, Fritz 28%) and Conversion (Zverev 69.4%, Fritz 70%) averages across their respective three matches in Rome so far are almost identical.

Insights: Rome 2024 Quarter-finalists

When it comes to Steal and Baseline Battles scores, however, Zverev can again take confidence as he looks to extend his 4-3 lead in his Lexus ATP Head2Head series with Fritz. The German leads the quarter-finalists in both those categories and his Steal Score, which calculates how often a player has won the point when defending, is particularly impressive at 46.3%. In comparison, Fritz is down at 32%.

If Zverev can find a way past Fritz, the INSIGHTS also show that the German has good reason to feel confident as the action reaches its climax in Rome. The 27-year-old has the highest average overall Performance Rating of the eight quarter-finalists at an event where he is the only former champion in the field.

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