Zverev Moves One Win From First Acapulco Title
Acapulco was rocking on Friday evening, and the semi-final action at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC was only part of the story. Second seed Alexander Zverev didn’t let an earthquake rattle him on his way to a 6-4, 7-6(5) victory against Dominik Koepfer to reach his 23rd ATP Tour final.
Zverev will play second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas for a shot at his 14th ATP Tour title. The German has reached the final here previously in 2019, and made the semi-finals in his debut the year prior. He has not dropped a set en route to this year’s championship match, including a quarter-final walkover from Casper Ruud.
Zverev took a fast lead in the opening set, going up a double-break to lead a nervy Koepfer 4-1. But once his countryman settled into the match, Zverev was in for a battle. Koepfer got the break back and earned two break points that would have levelled the score at 4-4. Zverev responded by raising his level and taking the set.
The Germans had to briefly halt play when a 5.7 magnitude earthquake in the state of Guerrero suddenly shook Cancha Central for about a half minute during Koepfer's service game.
“The lights started shaking and the crowd felt it more than we did,” Zverev said in his post-match press conference. “We were running around the court, so we had to play a point during the earthquake. We didn’t feel much, but still obviously I know it happens here in Acapulco.”
After they got their bearings, Koepfer didn't miss a beat as he broke first to take a 3-1 lead. But Zverev again responded in style. He created break opportunities in each of Koepfer’s next three service games and finally converted at 5-4 to send them into a tie-break, where he claimed victory after two hours and 10 minutes.
“He’s a very tough player to play right now. He won some incredible matches,” Zverev said. “Beating [Milos] Raonic on a hard court the way that he did is very tough. I think he showed that he is somebody who can play extremely well on this level. Today, honestly, I thought I played a not bad match and he gave me a tough time."
Zverev trails Tsitsipas 1-5 in the ATP Head2Head series, with their last match coming at the 2020 ATP Cup. The top two seeds will meet off in the Acapulco final for the first time since 2015 when No. 2 seed David Ferrer of Spain defeated top-seeded Japanese star Kei Nishikori 6-3, 7-5.