Preview: Zverev And Tsitsipas Will Complete A Curious Trilogy In Masters 1000 On Clay | ATP Tours

0
8
 Preview: Zverev And Tsitsipas Will Complete A Curious Trilogy In Masters 1000 On Clay |  ATP Tours

Four of the top 5 seeds in the men’s singles draw have advanced to the semi-finals at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, meaning we’ll have a star-studded semi-final day on Saturday at the Foro Italico. Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas will meet at this stage for the third time at an ATP Masters 1000 in the past four weeks, while World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will seek his 1,000th victory on tour when he takes on Casper Ruud in a Rome 2020 semifinals rematch.

In doubles action, John Isner continues his bid for a third Masters 1000 title, this time alongside his new partner, Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman.

singles chart | Doubles draw | order of play

[2] Alexander Zverev (GER) vs. [4] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)

Zverev and Tsitsipas split their recent semi-final meetings on European clay, with the German winning a three-set match in Madrid after Tsitsipas dominated in Monte Carlo. The ATP Head2Head is at 7-4 in favor of Tsitsipas, including a 3-1 lead for the Greek on clay.

Two of today’s most in-form players enter Saturday’s matchup with a combined 54 wins in the 2022 season, with Tsitsipas’ 30 leading the ATP Tour and ahead of Carlos Alcaraz’s 28. The 23-year-old has made deep runs in each of the four clay-court events he has played this year. After defeating Zverev en route to a second consecutive Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters title, he reached the Barcelona quarter-finals before advancing to the semifinals at the ATP Masters 1000 in Madrid and Rome.

Tsitsipas this week surpassed Rafael Nadal at No. 4 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings and his long run in Rome ensures the Greek will rise to No. 4 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on Monday. Tsitsipas reached his career high of World No. 3 in August 2021.

Zverev has also been to at least the semi-finals at all three clay-court Masters 1000s this season, including his last run last week in Madrid. The German is a five-time champion at this prestigious level, winning three of those titles on clay. He captured the first of those five titles in Rome in 2017, when, at the age of 20, he beat Djokovic in the final.

The second seed has not dropped a set on his way to the semi-finals, beating Sebastián Báez, Alex de Minaur and Cristian Garín. Tsitsipas opened with a pair of three-set wins in Rome, saving two match points in his first match to beat Grigor Dimitrov in a third-set tiebreak. He came back from a set down against Karen Khachanov in the round of 16 before beating local favorite Jannik Sinner and the Italian crowd 7-6(5), 6-2.

Zverev can move within 140 points of Daniil Medvedev, No. 2 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, if he wins his second title in Rome.

Both Zverev and Tsitsipas have entered the semi-finals with a relentless plan of attack. The German leads the remaining field in the Balance of Power metric, which tells us that he has played 28 per cent of his shots in an attacking position this week in Rome. Tsitsipas is second of the four semi-finalists on that measure with 26 per cent. As for conversion and steal rates, the Greek’s 71 percent conversion rate beats Zverev’s 66 percent mark. By contrast, Zverev has stolen 35 per cent of the defense’s points, six percentage points more than his opponent and second only to Djokovic.

Player Power balance
Conversion Stole
Zverev 28% 66% 35%
Tsitsipas 26% 71% 29%
Ruud 24% 77% 33%
Djokovic 22% 73% 40%

Looking ahead to Saturday’s matchup, Tsitsipas praised his rival, who is 16 months older than him.

“We have similar styles of play, but he is one of the most difficult players to face on Tour,” Tsitsipas anticipated. “I have great respect for him. He has achieved a lot so far and I try to admire him with the things that he has achieved.”

[1] Novak Djokovic (SER) vs. [5] Casper Ruud (NOR)

Djokovic rose to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings after beating Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarterfinals, already defending 360 of the 600 points he earned as a Rome 2021 finalist. After confirming his stay at No. 1 in the world, he can now turn his attention to earning his 1,000th career win.

The Serb has not dropped a set in two previous ATP Head2Head meetings with Ruud, scoring wins in the 2020 Rome semi-finals and the 2021 Nitto ATP Finals. After an early exit in Monte-Carlo, he broke into form by reaching the final in his hometown of Belgrade and the semi-finals last week in Madrid.

After losing just seven games against Aslan Karatsev and Stan Wawrinka in Rome, he put up a tough test against Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarterfinals. In a match filled with supreme quality highlights from both sides, the Serb was at his best late in both sets to score a 7-5, 7-6(1) win.

Ruud entered the European clay tour on a high after reaching his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Miami, a hard-court run that surprised even him. But he struggled on his favorite clay before Rome, arriving in the Italian capital with just four wins from his previous four events. He bounced back brilliantly from an opening match elimination in Madrid to advance to his fifth Masters 1000 semi-final this week.

“I will have a quality opponent again,” Djokovic said of the Norwegian. “He’s a clay court specialist, but he’s gotten a lot better on other surfaces…he’s just a hard worker, a good guy.”

“We practice a lot and get along well off the court. Tomorrow obviously we want to win against each other on the pitch, without a doubt… Hopefully I can play as well as I did tonight”.

doubles semifinals

John Isner and Diego Schwartzman will take on the duo of Andrey Golubev and Máximo González on the Pietrangeli court as they look to extend their unbeaten record as a team. The American-Argentine pairing survived a pair of Match Tie-breaks in the first two rounds before posting a dominant 6-3, 6-2 victory over Harri Heliovaara and Lloyd Glasspool in the quarterfinals.

Currently at No. 22, a career-high in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings, Isner could climb as high as No. 18 with the title.

After Djokovic vs. Ruud on center court, third seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic will close out the night against Italians Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini. The local favorites are coming off a set and a break down to beat two-time Roland Garros champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies of Germany 6-7(3), 6-4, 11-9.

Defending champions Mektic and Pavic have not dropped a set this week and are confident of claiming their first ATP Tour title of the season as the only remaining seeds in Rome.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here