After an intense week of tennis at the ATP Cologne Indoors, just two men remain in contention in for the title in Westphalia. But will it be Alexander Zverev, looking for his first title of the season, or Felix Auger-Aliassime, who has lost all five finals he has played so far in his career, who lifts the title?
ATP Cologne Indoors Final Prediction
Alexander Zverev vs Felix Auger-Aliassime
Head to head: Zverev 2-0 Auger-Aliassime
Tournament organizers were dealt a blow when health authorities banned fans from attending the event from Wednesday onward. Fortunately, the quality of the tennis was not diminished by the absence of the crowds and there should be plenty of interest in the final, which puts two of the brightest prospects in the sport against one another. Zverev will be the heavy favourite, however, having annihilated the Canadian in Monte Carlo and Beijing last season.
That said, 2019 does feel like a long time ago, for more than one reason, and their form this week will almost certainly prove a better guide to the outcome of this match. Zverev made a strong start to his tournament, beating the struggling Fernando Verdasco 6-4 6-1. He was not quite at his best against Lloyd Harris in the quarterfinals, but Zverev finished strongly to win 6-4 3-6 6-0, and he backed that up by edging past Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-5 7-6.
The world #7 struggled to find an answer to the Spaniard’s persistent drop shots, with his play in the forecourt lacking the necessary conviction. Fortunately, he served superbly, hammering ten aces past Davidovich Fokina whilst hitting just three double faults. That was enough for him to eke out a narrow win. But Zverev will be aware that Auger-Aliassime has the power and athleticism to pose him some very searching questions.
The Canadian, for his part, began his tournament with routine wins over the outclassed Henri Laaksonen and Radu Albot, which saw him into his fourth ATP semifinal of the season. There he beat Roberto Bautista Agut to notch his first top 15 win of the season. It was not quite a vintage Auger-Aliassime performance, with his play rather erratic, but when it mattered most he was almost unplayable, painting lines with his serve and off the ground.
Zverev has been the more consistent performer. He has also dominated this rivalry and is playing on home turf, even if he will not be able to call upon the support of the crowd. Auger-Aliassime, meanwhile, will have to contend with the pressure of trying to end his barren streak in tour-level finals. All the signs point towards the German then. But don’t counter Auger-Aliassime. If Sinner can hit through Zverev in Paris, then so can Auger-Aliassime in Cologne. Expect him to do just that.
Prediction: Auger-Aliassime in 3
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