After a week of high quality clay-court tennis in the Spanish capital, the showpiece final has been set. Matteo Berrettini is aiming to win his first Masters 1000 event in his final, whilst Alexander Zverev is going for his fourth Masters 1000 title and his second title in Madrid, having won the event in 2018. But who will lift the title at the ATP Madrid Open?
ATP Madrid Open Final Prediction
Matteo Berrettini vs Alexander Zverev
Head-to-head: Zverev 2-1 Berrettini
Matteo Berrettini’s semifinal victory over Casper Ruud was one of the best performances of the Italian’s career. Berrettini utilized his big serve, by changing the patterns of serve placement, making it nearly impossible for the Norwegian to read and return his serve effectively. More importantly from the Italian’s point of view, his high level of serving allowed him to get his forehand into play, and dominate the rallies, overwhelming Ruud at times with his firepower.
It is no surprise that the conditions in Madrid are to Berrettini’s liking. The high altitude allows for his aggressive baseline game to be incredibly effective, with it being easier for him to hit through the court, in comparison to the other clay court events at a lower altitude, where the ball is heavier through the air. The Italian is continuing his fine 2021 season, which has been hampered somewhat due to an abdominal injury he sustained at the Australian Open.
Berrettini won the ATP 250 clay court event in Belgrade last month and after an impressive week in the Spanish capital he will be brimming with confidence heading into the final. The one area of concern is the backhand, however I have been impressed with the Italian’s use of the backhand slice this week, which adds variety and unpredictability into his game.
Alexander Zverev headed into Madrid on the back of a disappointing defeat in the quarterfinals in Munich to Ilya Ivashka, a match where where the German had the opportunity to serve for a straight set victory. Despite winning the ATP 500 event in Acapulco, disappointing results in Miami, Monte Carlo and Munich raised questions about the German’s mentality and form. However, similarly to the Italian, the high altitude of Madrid is perfectly suited to Zverev’s game, with the German getting plenty of free points off of his serve and heavy ground-strokes.
The serve has been a big issue for Zverev, especially the second serve in high pressure moments. The German has a tendency to decelerate on the second serve, which leads to double faults. Although it has to be said that this week, Zverev has served well for the most part, especially in his semifinal win over Dominic Thiem. The win over Nadal in the quarterfinals should be a big mental boost because of the calmness he showed under pressure and the way he was able to serve it out. It may also add to his belief that he is one of the main contenders at Roland Garros.
This final promises to be an interesting match. The German is looking formidable yin the rallies this week, with the forehand proving to be more consistent than usual. Berrettini looked unbeatable in his semifinal win, but it is important to note that Zverev has a bigger serve than Casper Ruud and will have more firepower to hurt Berrettini than the Norwegian.
A close match looks to be in the offing, but Zverev’s backhand is in a different league to the Italian’s and the German’s firepower will make it difficult for Berrettini to dominate as he did against Ruud with his forehand. Berrettini will have to replicate the accuracy of his serving in his semifinal. The German will be looking to attack the Italian’s backhand and it is on the backhand side where the match will predominantly be won or lost. Expect the German to get the win in two tight sets.
Prediction: Zverev in 2
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