Fixture: (1) Stefanos Tsitsipas vs (2) Alexander Zverev
Date: 20 March 2021
Tournament: Abierto Mexicano Telcel 2021
Venue: Acapulco, Mexico
Category: ATP 500
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $1,053,560
Match timing: Not before 9 pm local time, 8:30 am IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
Alexander Zverev vs Stefanos Tsitsipas preview
In stark contrast to what's happening at the other ATP 500 event this week in Dubai, Acapulco will see its two top seeds square off in a mouthwatering finale. And if you look past Roger Federer's frozen ranking, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev are essentially the 5th and 6th best players in the world right now too.
Both Tsitsipas and Zverev have exhibited enough potential over the past couple of years to be considered future World No. 1 candidates. On that note, let's take a look at their respective runs to the Acapulco final.
(1) Stefanos Tsitsipas (Rank 5, Elo 1988)
- Round 1: Benoit Paire (Rank 31, Elo 1667)
- Round of 16: John Isner (Rank 27, Elo 1742)
- Quarter-finals: (7) Felix Auger-Aliassime (Rank 18, Elo 1795)
- Semi-finals: (Q) Lorenzo Musetti (Rank 120, Elo 1603)
(2) Alexander Zverev (Rank 7, Elo 1981)
- Round 1: (WC) Carlos Alcaraz (Rank 132, Elo 1583)
- Round of 16: Laslo Djere (Rank 54, Elo 1542)
- Quarter-finals: (8) Casper Ruud (Walkover)
- Semi-finals: Dominik Koepfer (Rank 71, Elo 1629)
While neither player has had it too tough on the court, Zverev has clearly had the easier draw (the way it played out, that is). The telling difference in their respective paths came in the quarterfinals.
While Tsitsipas was stretched to the limit against seventh-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime, Zverev received a walkover against eighth-seeded Casper Ruud.
In the semifinals though, Stefanos Tsitsipas put away Lorenzo Musetti with ease. Musetti had earlier taken out the third-seeded Diego Schwartzman and fifth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov, but had spent 2+ hours in all his main round matches - in addition to playing the qualifiers.
Perhaps the the physical exertion across the week, coupled with the mental challenge of facing the top seed, proved too much for the Italian teenager. Tsitsipas won 6-1 6-3, allowing Musetti only about half of his service points (29/56), and no break points on his own serve.
Alexander Zverev's semifinal match was much closer in comparison. He started out strongly, breaking Dominik Koepfer twice to run up a big lead. If not were for a wobble while serving at 4-1, the set would have been far more decisive in Zverev's favor than a regular 6-4 set.
The second set was a different story altogether. Koepfer got an early break, and defended it in a mammoth seventh game where he saving four break points. But he failed to close the set out while serving at 5-4, and Zverev eventually won 6-4 7-6(5).
Alexander Zverev vs Stefanos Tsitsipas head-to-head
While there's little to choose between their playing levels over the past couple of years, their head-to-head record shows anything but. Alexander Zverev won their first encounter, at Washington 2018, but since then the pair have met five times and the German has won only two sets - with none of them coming in their last three matches.
Stefanos Tsitsipas leads Alexander Zverev 5-1 in their head-to-head meetings overall, 4-1 on hardcourts and 3-1 on outdoor hardcourts.
Alexander Zverev vs Stefanos Tsitsipas prediction
Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev started out at 1988 and 1981 Elo respectively, but here's a look at their in-tournament performance:
- Stefanos Tsitsipas has a tournament Elo rating of 2236. His Adjusted Elo stands at 2087.
- Alexander Zverev has a tournament Elo rating of 2058. His Adjusted Elo stands at 2004.
At their Adjusted Elo ratings, Stefanos Tsitsipas stands a 61.72% chance of winning the match.
Tsitsipas is expected to win around 62% of his service points, while Zverev is expected to win around 59% of his service points. And that may prove to be a telling difference in the end, especially since there is not much to choose between the two in terms of baseline efficiency.
Prediction: Stefanos Tsitsipas to win 6-4, 7-6.