Madrid Flashback: Alexander Zverev downs Denis Shapovalov to reach final

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Madrid Flashback: Alexander Zverev downs Denis Shapovalov to reach final

Between the spring of 2017 and 2018, Alexander Zverev was a player to beat at the Masters 1000 series. The German advanced into the fourth final at this level within a year in Madrid 2018 following a 6-4, 6-1 triumph over Denis Shapovalov in swift 57 minutes.

It was their third match and the third win for Zverev, who had the upper hand in the youngster semi-final at this Masters 1000 event that started in 2002! The German was the dominant figure in his games, dropping nine points behind the initial shot and never facing a break point to mount the pressure on the other side.

Pushing hard on the return, Alexander grabbed almost half of the points behind Denis' initial shot and seized all four break opportunities to seal the deal in style and set the final clash against Dominic Thiem. Both players stayed below ten winners from the court, but Zverev tamed his strokes more efficiently.

The German rested on 13 unforced while Shapovalov counted to 21, unable to impose his strokes or move the opponent from the comfort zone. Denis played well to reach the semi-final after heading to Madrid with no wins in the ATP tournaments on clay.

The Canadian found the rhythm on the fast surface at Caja Magica but had nothing left in the tank for Alexander, who had a massive advantage in the shortest rallies up to four strokes.

Alexander Zverev stormed over Denis Shapovalov in the 2018 Madrid semi-final.

The booming serves led the young German towards the victory, hitting a service winner in over half of the points and challenging Denis to repeat that if he wanted to stay in contention.

The youngest Masters 1000 semi-finalist on clay since Rafael Nadal and Richard Gasquet in 2005 held at love in the opening game and stayed in touch at the beginning of the encounter. The returners claimed only two points in the first four games, closing them in nine minutes.

Shapovalov held after deuce in game five to remain in front and delivered another fine hold at 3-3 to complete the first seven games in 21 minutes! Zverev closed the eighth game with another powerful serve and drew first blood a few minutes later after breaking Shapovalov at 30.

Alexander moved in front and secured the opener with a forehand winner in the tenth game for 6-4. With momentum on his side, the German grabbed a break at the beginning of the second set following the Canadian's forced error.

He cemented the advantage with four service winners in game two to forge a set and a break lead and move closer to the finish line. A lefthander sprayed a backhand error in the third game to suffer a break at love and allowed Alexander to open a 4-0 gap.

The German raced over the finish line with another break in game seven, playing on a high level and moving into the title clash against Dominic Thiem.