2024 Rome Open Men's Final Preview: Alexander Zverev to test favourite tag against clinical Chilean Nicolas Jarry

Sunday, 19 May 2024 at 16:31
Given the current landscape of men's tennis, a final between Alexander Zverev and Nicolas Jarry is both unexpected but also right for the times as they will face off on Sunday at the 2024 Rome Open for the last ATP 1000 title before Roland Garros.
Our preview takes you through both the route of Zverev and Jarry, their Head to Head and the leading talking points ahead of an exhilarating final on Sunday evening.

Zverev looks to live up to favourite tag

In reality, Alexander Zverev has been the favourite for the Rome Open title throughout the rounds since the demise of top names including Novak Djokovic, Casper Ruud and Daniil Medvedev among others. He is the top ranked player left in the tournament and has been for two rounds and will expected to clinch the title on Sunday.
Zverev will have the spotlight on him in a negative light over the next month with the trial for domestic abuse allegations against his ex-girlfriend and mother to his child, Brenda Patea set to take place. So it will likely be a French Open where he either flounders or uses that outside fire as fuel to stake his claim.
But going into the French Open either way, he will be one of the favourites. He has now reached 11 ATP Masters 1000 finals tied with Boris Becker. He passed Gustavo Kuerten, Daniil Medvedev and Thomas Muster in the process who are all on 10 finals respectively.
He has previously won the Rome Open, Canadian Open, Madrid Open twice and Cincinnati Open on the surface priorly losing five finals and winning five. So he has form on winning this title albeit 7 years ago in 2017. Back then, he was the youngest player to win consecutive Masters 1000 titles on different surfaces since the format started in 1990. He is also the first player born in the 1990's to win multiple Masters 1000 titles. So a player that has a tag of favourite for a reason.
Alexander Zverev has been a favourite for a reason throughout recent rounds. 
He has certainly not had it easy either this week. He saw off Aleksandar Vukic and Luciano Darderi without a great degree of issue to begin his campaign. He then saw off Nuno Borges edging a second set 7-5 for a straight sets win. But the comfort of his wins continued with Taylor Fritz' top form on the surface being halted by the German.
It was Alejandro Tabilo though that posed more problems. The Chilean was 2-0 up in the second set tie-break but fell apart and Zverev took his chance and showed his experience on the big stage. He found a way through and sealed the win to book a final and also snap the potential of an all Chilean affair. His clay court form up until now has been middling with a Last 16 in Madrid, Quarter-FInal loss to Garin in Munich and he lost second round to Tsitsipas in Monte-Carlo. So no mugs but also not form that would perhaps deliver him a favourite tag on paper going into the tournament, even with the demise of huge names. But he has pulled it out of the bag and what will be even sweeter for Zverev could be to come in Paris if he manages to seal that title. So a second Rome Open that could yet have big implications.

Classy Chilean Jarry in danger man role

This time last year, Nicolas Jarry had started to show himself to the tennis world. He won the Geneva Open before the French Open. A tournament he won't defend this time. But he has long been a top player on clay and an ever improving one.
From a prior drugs ban which he bore no negligence for, he has returned and continued to improve. He will be set for a career high no matter what come the end of the tournament and could yet be into the top 15 by the end of this weekend. He has been up and down this season. Not performing perhaps to expectation during the South American Hard Court swing despite reaching the final of Buenos Aires.
In the other corner, the clinical Chilean Nicolas Jarry.
He was top seed barring when Alcaraz played in most of these tournaments though. in Miami, he reached the Quarter-Finals and repeated that feat this time in Rome. Albeit he went further. He reached his first Masters 1000 final by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in three sets as well as Tommy Paul also in three to reach the final where he will face off against Alexander Zverev. He joined Alejandro Tabilo in the semi-finals who made it so that it was the first time that multiple Chileans will be in a semi-finals as well as the first time at a tour event overall since 2006. In reaching the final, he emulated Fernando Gonzalez and could make further history by winning the title.
Very much an incredible week for Chile and for Jarry, but one that certainly has been coming in recent months with the Chilean continuing to tick off the milestones from becoming South American No.1 to continuing to add bigger titles, he has now his sights set on his biggest crown of his career. A player long associated with being a dangerman on clay could achieve destiny by sealing the title.
Head to Head wise, they have had six meetings in the past so there is a history that could provide a guide to their clash. It is 4-2 in favour of Zverev. He won their last two meetings in Beijing and Halle in 2023. Both of these in the Quarter-Finals. But the key perhaps in the context of this surface and this tie is that Jarry won their last clay meeting.
He defeated Zverev last season at the 2024 Halle Open to reach the final which he went on to win so despite a 4-2 lead in Zverev's favour, it perhaps goes out the window in the context of this clash. Perhaps also with these two reaching the final of Rome, it is pre-cursor to the most open Roland Garros in years.

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