Fixture: Alexander Zverev vs Diego Schwartzman
Date: 25 October 2020
Tournament: Bett1Hulks Championship 2020
Venue: Cologne, Germany
Category: ATP 250
Surface: Indoor hardcourt
Prize money: €325,610
Match timing: Not Before 7.30 pm CEST, 11 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel
Alexander Zverev vs Diego Schwartzman preview
Home favorite and top seed Alexander Zverev takes on second seed Diego Schwartzman in the final of the Bett1Hulks Championship 2020 in Cologne on Sunday.
Both players came into the tournament in top form. Zverev got his first title of 2020 by winning in Cologne last week, to continue a strong season overall. The German reached semifinal at the Australian Open earlier in the year, and then played a thrilling five-set final against Dominic Thiem at the US Open where he was inches away from the title.
Zverev has looked in particularly good nick the last two weeks, defeating the likes of Fernando Verdasco, Felix Auger-Aliassime as well as Italian teenager Jannik Sinner - the last of whom had got the better of him at Roland Garros earlier this month. But the 23-year-old is seemingly battling a hip injury, as he revealed following the match against Sinner, which could play a key role in the final.
Diego Schwartzman on his part is in great form too. The Argentine had a splendid clay season where he defeated Rafael Nadal in Rome to reach his first Masters 1000 final, and Dominic Thiem at Roland Garros to reach his first Grand Slam semifinal.
The 28-year-old has been able to take that momentum into the indoor hardcourt season as well. He has fought off stiff competition from Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Felix Auger-Aliassime in his last two matches, and would head into the final high on confidence.
Alexander Zverev vs Diego Schwartzman head-to-head
The final in Cologne happens to be the fourth meeting between the two players; Diego Schwartzman currently leads the head-to-head 2-1 over Alexander Zverev.
The Argentine prevailed in their last outing, the fourth round of US Open 2019, as well as their first match on tour - at Kitzbuhel in 2014.
Zverev, however, has won the only match on indoor hardcourts between the two players, prevailing 6-4 6-2 in the second round of the 2018 Paris Masters.
Alexander Zverev vs Diego Schwartzman prediction
Having the superior indoor hardcourt record and a title in Cologne last week, Alexander Zverev has the edge over Diego Schwartzman coming into the final. The extent of the German's hip injury, however, could be crucial for the tie.
Despite his small stature and lack of natural power, Schwartzman's excellent footwork and anticipation skills, coupled with his tactical awareness and decision-making, have made him a formidable force on the quick hardcourts as well. His excellent groundstrokes and return of serve make him a threat on any surface, notwithstanding his underwhelming first serve.
Zverev, on the other hand, has all the natural attributes that make for a great hardcourter. The German has a big serve and the ability to hit quick, flat groundstrokes that can earn him many cheap points. However, his tendency to make a few too many double faults and forehand unforced errors does limit him at times.
If Zverev were fully fit and at his best, he would be well-positioned to win a second title in Cologne. But given his injury, coupled with the fact that Schwartzman is in blistering form while also being motivated to reach the ATP Finals, the Argentine could end up narrowly eking out a victory.
Prediction: Diego Schwartzman to win in three sets.Published 25 Oct 2020, 10:44 IST