Alexander Zverev saw off a tough test against Stan Wawrinka to set up a Rolex Paris Masters 2020 semi-final against Rafael Nadal. While Zverev is playing in conditions that favor him, the German expects an ‘extremely motivated’ Nadal to present a very tough test.
“Rafa is extremely motivated this year. He has never won this tournament and I think that is also the source of his motivation,” Zverev said of his next opponent.
He then hailed the Spanish superstar‘s defensive abilities and said he will have to be smart in Saturday’s semi-final.
“Against Nadal, you have to play very smart. Maybe the best defender in our game. I’m not telling you the tactics,” Zverev said.
He then expressed the importance of being at his best against Nadal, who will not allow him any easy moments to surge ahead in the match. “When you are going to fight against Rafa, you have to have the wind in your sails,” he explained.
Zverev goes into the match with a 5-1 losing record against Nadal. However, his only win was in their previous match on an indoor hard-court.
Zverev outplayed Nadal at the ATP Finals in 2019, winning 6-2, 6-4. Zverev feels it is normal to have an unfavorable win-loss record against Nadal as he is not the only one to have that.
At the same time, he is confident ahead of the semi-final.
“Most tennis players lost more than won against Nadal, that’s normal. But I feel good. I think today was a good game for me…And tomorrow, I think it will be an interesting showdown to see and also to play,” Zverev continued.
The 23-year-old is aware of his strength on indoor hard-courts and hopes to make the most of that on Saturday. Zverev’s biggest title so far came in 2018, at the ATP Finals, under similar conditions.
Against Wawrinka, Zverev played an impressive opening set to take it 6-3. Just like Wawrinka did against Andrey Rublev in the Round of 16, he staged a comeback in the second set, but Zverev stayed with him. During a crunch moment towards the end of the set, Zverev played an impressive tie-break to win the match.