[CR5] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. [CR58] Alexander Zverev (GER)
This was a difficult match for me to watch because I am a fan of both and had to root for a good match from both; however, I was on pins and needles because I wanted the impossible, both to win. Zverev came out strong and got the early break, things looked grim for Nadal. Zverev served for the first set at 5-4 and failed. The quality of tennis was tremendous, just what every fan wanted. It was appropriate that the first set went to a tiebreak and Nadal was the first to crack under the pressure applied by Zverev; however, Zverev was also feeling the pressure. Nadal had set points but was unable to convert any, in part because of the brilliant play of Zverev. Nadal took the early double break lead in the second set; yet, nothing is guaranteed these days with Nadal. It was quite baffling that Zverev checked out of the match completely and lost the set at love.
Zverev regained his focus and got off to a promising start in the third set by immediately breaking Nadal’s serve; yet, that lead was short-lived as Nadal broke back. Nadal however was unable to sustain that momentum and was broken again to give Zverev an important lead. Zverev was more confident and Nadal, who was very anxious from the start, grew more agitated. You have to keep the pressure on when you have a top player cornered and Nadal despite his woes is still one of the greatest fighters. Zverev served for the match and the pressure got to him. Nadal broke him and broke a second time to win the match 6-7(8), 6-0, 7-5. This was a tough loss for Zverev, who came so close to getting his first top ten win in seven tries; however, it was also a big mental win for Nadal. Zverev will bounce back and learn from this loss, but was this the turning point for Nadal?