Top-seed Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev locked horns in the semi-final of the Rolex Paris Masters 2020. In what seemed like an extraordinary start, Zverev eased past the 13-time Roland Garros champion in the first set, but the Spaniard displayed tremendous grit in the second!
Over the years, we’ve seen Rafael Nadal dominating the ATP circuit. However, if there is one major struggle in his game, it has to be indoor hard courts. The results speak for themselves and Alexander Zverev looked to add to the insult.
After taking the first set, Zverev looked to be in cruise control, until Rafael Nadal bounced back with his stunning winners. It is no secret that this isn’t the ideal surface for Rafa, but he fought back with might in the second set to hold on in the match.
As the second set began, both players won their opening service games and they had to be hard-earned. Likewise, Nadal made Zverev toil hard for a point with his incredible hitting on all sides of the court. He then delivered a killer blow by launching a forehand to which Zverev had no answer.
Vintage forehand from 🇪🇸 @RafaelNadal
🎥: @TennisTV | @RolexPMasters | #RolexParisMasterspic.twitter.com/3BuOtLX07p
— ATP Tour (@atptour) November 7, 2020
The thundering forehand earned Nadal a point and a glimpse of hope that he can bounce back in the match. However, Zverev looked in top form and gave showcased little margin for error en route to his 6-4, 7-5 victory over the Spaniard.
.@AlexZverev rejoint Daniil Medvedev en finale à Paris.
Victoire sur Rafael Nadal 🇪🇸 6-4 7-5#RolexParisMasters pic.twitter.com/gSLhcKRPyf
— ROLEX PARIS MASTERS (@RolexPMasters) November 7, 2020
Zverev tired Nadal out and served brilliantly throughout the match. The German’s near-perfect 97% first-serve percentage largely boosted his confidence in the match to outplay his more experienced opponent.
Rafael Nadal and his struggles at Rolex Paris Masters
It is quite remarkable that Rafael Nadal enjoys playing at one tournament in Paris, but struggles in the other. The Parisian clay is his home ground, but he’s always struggled at the Rolex Paris Masters. In fact, the 34-year-old has never won the Masters 1000s tournament in his long-standing career.
A lot of this has to do with the fact that the tournament is held indoors on a hard court. The surface is skiddy and it allows very little time for a defensive player like Nadal to react. Moreover, the 13x Roland Garros champ is not one to deny the fact that his performances on indoor courts have not been up to the mark.
“That is the reality; to deny this would be to deceive myself and everyone else,” he said. Out of 84 career-titles that he’s won, only two titles have come on indoor hard courts. Will we see Rafael Nadal win the Rolex Paris Masters before he retires?