From Madrid to Rome, the clay season battles continue
Zverev’s success in Spain was achieved in a stunning manner, as he did not drop a set in winning 18 consecutive sets since the beginning of the clay season. Coming after his successful defence of the title in Hamburg, Zverev became primus inter pares among his peers; especially in the victory over Dominic Thiem.
In the final match, the Austrian star did not attain the level that enabled him to dismiss Nadal in straight sets; after surviving a first round scare against qualifier from Argentina, Frederico Delbonis. In the first round match against Bona Coric, Thiem also narrowly escaped defeat in the second set tie break; before subsequent straight set wins over Rafael Nadal and Kevin Anderson. Could those long matches have made him weather-beaten by the time he faced Zverev in a match he committed 21 unforced errors?
Concern about fatigue applies to all the top players; especially Rafael Nadal. When he lost in the quarter-final in Madrid, it was an opportunity for some rest. He had started with the Davis Cup in April and played to the titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.
Nadal needs to win the tournament and have the 1000 points in order to regain the top spot in the rankings. If, however, the fatigue factor plays out in Rome and the penultimate Rolland Garros, how far can Rafael Nadal, the King of clay, go in his quest for a seventh title in Italy and 11th in Paris?
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