IMPRESSIVE! Alexander Zverev Battles Past Matteo Berrettini to Pull off His 4th Masters 1000 Title at Mutua Madrid Open 2021

Published 05/09/2021, 3:45 PM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Madrid Open – Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain – May 9, 2021 Germany’s Alexander Zverev in action during his final match against Italy’s Matteo Berrettini REUTERS/Sergio Perez


Alexander Zverev defeated Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem on his way to the Mutua Madrid Open finals. The victory against Nadal clearly gave him enough confidence to clinch the title. Entering the tournament, he was not on the top contenders’ list but played great tennis throughout the event to win his fourth Masters 1000 title by defeating Matteo Berrettini in a tight, three-set contest 6-7,6-4,6-3.

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A closely contested first set went Matteo Berrettini’s way

Each player had a sloppy start to the match as they let the other take command in their service games but managed to not leak breakpoints right at the start. Compared to Zverev, the Italian was hitting the ball more clearly. The forehand of Zverev is yet to find the range.

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Both Zverev and Berrettini rely on their serve more often than not in their matches. As a result, most of the points were short during the initial few games of the first set.

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Madrid Open – Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain – May 7, 2021 Germany’s Alexander Zverev celebrates winning his quarter final match against Spain’s Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Sergio Perez
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Owing to a poor service game from the German at 3-3, Berrettini got the first break of the match and took an early lead of 4-3 in the first set. However, things changed quickly as the Italian struggled to maintain the lead and gave away his breakpoint in the immediate service game.

Serving to stay in the set at 4-5, Berrettini had a near-perfect service game with a couple of aces. With Zverev winning his next service game comfortably, the pressure was back on the Italian as he had to serve to stay in the first set.

Each player was able to hit winners freely from the forehand side, as a tie-breaker was needed to decide the winner of the set.

In the tie-breakers, errors began to leak from the German as Berrettini had the upper hand with a 2-0 lead. The Italian was able to read the Zverev’s serve better and raised to a quick 5-0 lead. Zverev’s defensive approach in the breaker helped his opponent to take control.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 11, 2021 Italy’s Matteo Berrettini reacts during his second round match against Czech Republic’s Tomas Machac REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Just when the Italian looked ready to clinch the first set, a mini-redemption from Zverev earned him 4 consecutive points. Berrettini had a set point on his serve but an untimely error from his forehand made Zverev level the tie-break at 6-6.

Berrettini lost a third set point opportunity, but thanks to a double-fault from Zverev, the Italian had another set point and he sealed the deal with an ace. It was a closely contested first set.

Alexander Zverev managed to clinch the second set, 6-4

The Italian had the momentum going into the second set as he managed to hit the ball more freely. In the first few games, Zverev looked tight and even his first serve percentage dropped a bit.

The second set progressed like the first in the initial few games, as both Zverev and Berrettini won their service games without any pressure. But in the seventh game, on the Italian’s serve, Zverev had a small opening to get the first break in the set.

However, the Italian bounced back from a 0-30 deficit and won the service game.

From the tournament, it was evident that Madrid clay is different from other clay-court surfaces like Barcelona or Rome. Players who rely more on their serve to get through the matches had a clear advantage right through the tournament.

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Madrid Open – Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain – May 7, 2021 Germany’s Alexander Zverev in action during his quarter final match against Spain’s Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Sergio Perez

While the German capitalized on the same, Berrettini looked too good to lose in the final today. The Italian wrong-footed Zverev on numerous occasions and played a lot of inside-out forehands as it pushed the German to commit unforced errors.

Serving at 4-4 in the second set, Berrettini had a slight dip in form, and it became enough for the German to get the first breakpoint of the set. The German won his immediate service game and took the second set 6-4.

Berrettini had a couple of early chances to break in the second set as he failed to mount any pressure on Zverev. It was the German’s turn later to exert pressure on his opponent, and he became successful in doing so.

Berrettini’s dip in form helped Zverev win the Madrid Open title

The third set was expected to follow the same route as the first two. Both the players got a lot of free points with their first serve-forehand combination in the initial games. Also, both the players didn’t lose command on their first serves right from the start. They played with an amazing consistency in their service games, barring minor dips of form in between.

An untimely double-fault and a missed forehand from the German on his serve took the fourth game to a deuce. Again, Berrettini had an outside chance to claim the first break but made back-to-back errors and allowed the game to slip away from him.

Having lost the opportunity, the pressure was right back on the Italian to hold his serve. But he failed to do so and made a couple of drastic forehand errors to gift the game to the German. All Zverev needs to do to win the title is to serve as he did in the first set.

Tennis – ATP 500 – Mexican Open – The Fairmont Acapulco Princess, Acapulco, Mexico – Germany’s Alexander Zverev in action during his final match against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Carlos Perez-Gallardo

The Italian seemed to have lost the plot as he made too many errors and didn’t look confident enough to bounce back. The German’s consistent serve gave him a lead of 5-3 in the set as Berrettini served to stay in the match.

Alexander Zverev was persistent to close out the match on the Italian’s serve as he took the game to a deuce. With relentless defense, Zverev managed to force an error from Berrettini and got his first championship point.

Even after saving the first championship point, the Italian couldn’t manage to win the game as Zverev broke the Italian for the second time in the third set to win the Mutua Madrid Open 6-7,6-4,6-3.

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Sagar Ashtakoula

229 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.

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