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Paris Masters 2020: Rafael Nadal vs Alexander Zverev preview, head-to-head & prediction

Alexander Zverev (L) and Rafael Nadal at the Nitto ATP Finals 2019
Alexander Zverev (L) and Rafael Nadal at the Nitto ATP Finals 2019
Namit Kumar
ANALYST
Modified 07 Nov 2020, 08:52 IST
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Match details

Fixture: (1) Rafael Nadal vs (4) Alexander Zverev

Date: 7 November 2020

Tournament: Rolex Paris Masters 2020

Round: Semifinals

Venue: Paris, France

Category: ATP Masters 1000

Surface: Indoor Hardcourt

Prize money: €3,901,015

Match timing: Not before 4.30 pm local time, 9 pm IST

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Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | India - Sony Six / Sony Liv

Rafael Nadal vs Alexander Zverev preview

Top seed Rafael Nadal faces off against Alexander Zverev on Saturday for a place in the final of the Rolex Paris Masters.

Nadal comes into the match on the back of a 10-match winning streak, having triumphed at Roland Garros for a record-extending 13th time last month. But the Spaniard has a famously underwhelming record in Paris and on indoor hardcourts in general, and he has had a few battles this past week.

The World No. 2 overturned a one-set deficit in the first round against Feliciano Lopez, before following it up with a routine win over Jordan Thompson. In the quarterfinal, he faced an in-form Pablo Carreno Busta and had to overturn yet another one-set deficit.

The 34-year-old eventually managed to subdue his compatriot's power and consistency, prevailing 4-6 7-5 6-1 to keep his unbeaten run intact.

Alexander Zverev at the Bett1Hulks Championship 2020
Alexander Zverev at the Bett1Hulks Championship 2020

Alexander Zverev meanwhile is dealing with a slew of off-court distractions at the moment. Shortly after the announcement of his impending fatherhood with ex-girlfriend Brenda Patea, another ex-girlfriend, Olga 'Olya' Sharypova accused the German of physical abuse during the course of their relationship.

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Having rubbished the claims since, Zverev has not let the allegations affect him on the court. He has continued his 11-match winning streak, which includes a double title run in Cologne, this week in Paris.

The German faced a difficult task against Adrian Mannarino in the third round, having to battle for over three hours before coming through in a close three-setter. But he wasn't troubled too much by Stan Wawrinka in the quarterfinal on Friday, winning 6-3 7-6 despite seemingly carrying an injury.

Rafael Nadal vs Alexander Zverev head-to-head

Rafael Nadal (L) and Alexander Zverev at Rome Masters 2018
Rafael Nadal (L) and Alexander Zverev at Rome Masters 2018

The semifinal encounter in Paris is the seventh between the two players; and Rafael Nadal leads the head-to-head 5-1 over Alexander Zverev so far.

Despite getting close a few times, the German got his first win against Nadal only in their last meeting - at the 2019 ATP Finals, which was also their only encounter on indoor hardcourts.

Rafael Nadal vs Alexander Zverev prediction

Despite his off-court distractions, Alexander Zverev has looked in top form so far in Paris. He comes into the match against Rafael Nadal as the slight favorite, especially following his two titles in Cologne.

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The German did seem to be struggling with a groin injury against Wawrinka, but he grew into the match and ended up winning quite comfortably. His serve has been consistent and his tendency to make errors has been kept under control.

Zverev's natural power and depth, particularly from the backhand wing, have enabled him to take control of points early. He has also been defending well, retrieving several bullets from the Swiss on Friday with ease.

Rafael Nadal at the Rolex Paris Masters 2020
Rafael Nadal at the Rolex Paris Masters 2020

The serve has come in handy for Nadal as well, who has hit 26 aces in his three matches. And while the Spaniard's trademark topspin-laden forehand may not be firing on all cylinders yet, it has still been a significant weapon.

Nadal's return of serve, however, has let him down on occasion this week.

The Spaniard doesn't usually enjoy playing on indoor hardcourts, but he has shown no signs of fitness issues so far. His tenacity and quick movement have also been on full display, and he would be highly motivated to win his first ever Paris Masters title given the golden opportunity he has.

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Nadal would have the edge in a long and physical encounter, as this one promises to be. The result could boil down to a few tight moments and nervy tiebreakers, and the 20-time Grand Slam champion would be most people's bet to come out on top in those situations.

Prediction: Rafael Nadal to win in three sets.

Published 07 Nov 2020, 08:52 IST
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