Since Indian Wells 2016, Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev have played nine times. The Spaniard scored six victories, and he lost three straight encounters against the German between 2019-2021, two on an indoor court. Last year at Paris Masters, Alexander beat Rafa 6-4, 7-5 to advance into the seventh Masters 1000 final.
After conquering two titles in Cologne, the German came to the French capital and reached the third consecutive final. Nadal could not find a solution for Zverev's serve, allowing his rival to hit many service winners and suffer only one break.
Rafa got broken three times to lose ground and propel Alexander over the top. Zverev grabbed a break in the opener's third game and opened a 3-1 advantage after an unreturned serve after 14 minutes. Nadal landed a backhand down the line winner at 2-4 to stay in touch before Zverev claimed the set with a drop shot winner at 5-4, hoping for more of the same in the second.
Alexander Zverev defeated Rafael Nadal in straight sets in Paris last year.
Rafa got broken at 1-1 in set number two following a weak volley and wasted two break opportunities at 2-3 after two winners from his rival. Serving at 2-4, Nadal fended off four break points to stay within one break deficit and returned to the positive side with a break in game eight.
Rafa held at love for the first time to forge a 5-4 advantage and send the pressure to the other side of the court. Alexander landed an ace to grab the tenth game and earned a break chance in the next one after a lucky net cord winner.
Nadal gave serve away when his backhand landed wide, and Zverev held at 15 to move over the top and advance into the third straight ATP final. "I had many chances in set number two, particularly at 4-2. I failed to convert them, and those moments can turn the match around, especially against players like Rafa.
I picked up my level at 4-5, and it all went well. I feel good, reaching the Masters 1000 final and beating Rafa; that is never easy to do, and all the players would agree with me. I have been playing well since the season restart, I would say.
I'm happy to be on the court. Everything is good for me, and I'm satisfied with my tennis; I hope it will remain that way. As long as you still have a smile at the end of the day, I think that's the most important in life," Alexander Zverev said.