Rafael Nadal’s inability to win the Paris Masters in the past gives him ‘extra motivation’ for Saturday’s clash with Alexander Zverev, the German believes. The Spaniard last made the final way back in 2007, where he was beaten by David Nalbandian. And he’s now just two matches away from scooping the prize for the first time in his career.
Nadal has had a mixed Paris Masters campaign so far.
He lost the opening set of his showdown with Feliciano Lopez on Wednesday but rallied to win 4-6, 7-6, 6-4.
He was too strong for Australian Jordan Thompson the following day, cruising to a 6-1, 7-6 victory.
But the 34-year-old had to overcome a major scare against Pablo Carreno Busta on Friday, losing the opening set before prevailing 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.
Now, Zverev is up next in what promises to be a mouthwatering showdown in France.
And, speaking ahead of their showdown, the German has expressed a belief that Nadal will be ‘extra motivated’ for the match because of his failure to win the title in the past.
“When you play Rafa at any stage of the tournament, you have to be error-free to have success,” Zverev said after his victory over Stan Wawrinka on Friday.
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“Even though at later stages I think all the top players always play better and it’s even more difficult to beat them.
“I’m looking forward to that match. It’s going to be a very difficult challenge.
“I think Rafa is extremely motivated here. He has never won this tournament, so I think for him this is extra motivation, as well.
“For me as well. This is the best result so far that I have done in Paris, but I hope I can go further.”
Zverev also shrugged off his head to head record against Nadal, having beaten the Spaniard just once – at last year’s ATP Finals in London.
“I mean, I think most of the tennis players on this planet are in a deficit against Rafa,” he said. “I think that’s quite normal.”
Nadal had issues with his serve during his match against Carreno Busta but was enthused at how he performed in the end, despite his issues in securing the win.
“I started to return better [in the third set],” he said.
“The problem was he was playing well and I was not able to return well.
“So he was winning his serves very comfortably, so when that happens you are able to play more aggressively with less stress on the return, so I think that was the main problem.
“I think later I started to return a little bit better in the second half of the second set, I had a couple of chances and then I finally had the break, won the second set, and after that I was returning better, I was not hitting the ball bad, so it was the moment to push and I was able to make that break.
“It’s true that in the break he made a couple of mistakes but I saved some very difficult balls I think and then I was serving well during the whole match.”
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Published at Sat, 07 Nov 2020 11:19:00 +0000