Zverev's power and speed takes the game away from Fritz at Rome Open

Wednesday, 15 May 2024 at 22:54
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Alexander Zverev (No. 5) defeated Taylor Fritz (No. 13) 6-4, 6-3, advancing to the semifinals of the Rome Open. The German reached 130 victories in Masters 1000 tournaments, also making it to the semifinals of a Masters event for the 18th time in his career, and will face Chilean Alejandro Tabilo in search of the final.
Two weeks ago, it seemed improbable that the quarterfinals of the Rome Open would not feature the top figures of the past year. Without Alcaraz and Sinner due to injury, and with early eliminations of Djokovic and Medvedev, the last eight players in competition all arrived with clear possibilities of contending for the title.

Zverev wants to seize his opportunity

The ideal scenario was set, especially for Zverev, who has consistently demonstrated his best level on clay year after year and was already the champion at the Rome Open back in 2017. Additionally, the German lost the final in 2018 and currently holds a record of 22-6 (79%).
Both players engaged in short points, seeking dominance from the service, although Zverev was superior in the return to extend some rallies. 'Sascha' stumbled in the midst of the third game, causing concern among fans for a possible injury. The German seemed injured in the wrist and received medical attention, although he was able to continue playing without problems after receiving bandaging to protect the wounds he sustained.
Once the game resumed, Zverev secured the first and only break of the set, which was enough to maintain his advantage. Neither found new opportunities from the return, and after 46 minutes, Zverev claimed the set 6-4. The former world No. 2 had an 81% first-serve rate and won 81% of them, while Fritz had only a 55% rate, winning 75% of them.
The second set followed the same logic, with neither player able to trouble their opponent when returning. Short points were primarily played, and when rallies lengthened, Zverev's power and speed on the forehand prevailed over Fritz.
The equality persisted until 3-3, a crucial moment in the match when Zverev had his second break point of the match and first of the set. This was enough to secure the break that gave him the definitive advantage in the match. After going up 4-3, the German capitalized on the momentum and appeared vastly superior to his opponent in the final minutes of the match, thus claiming a second consecutive break and closing out the match 6-4, 6-3.
In the semifinals, he will face Alejandro Tabilo (No. 29), who has had a surprising campaign by eliminating Novak Djokovic in the third round. Zverev has no previous matches against the Chilean.

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