• Tom Grant

Zverev defeats Berrettini to claim second Madrid Open title

Germany’s Alexander Zverev secured his second Mutua Madrid Open last night after he saw past the challenge of Matteo Berrettini.

In the longest ever final in the Spanish Capital, Zverev came from a set down to win 6-7, 6-4, 6-3, in two hours 40 minutes to win his fourth Masters 1000 title.

“It’s great, especially losing the last three finals I played at a Masters event, this is definitely special & I just want to enjoy this one,” Zverev said after the win.

Berrettini may see the match as a missed opportunity after winning the first set but letting his game desert him in the latter part of the match.

The first set lived up to the pre-match hype as both players came out firing forehands and calling on their big serves to pull them out of any sticky situations. But it was Berrettini who struck first, breaking in the seventh game with a delightful drop shot that appeared to drop dead as the ball met the clay court.

Zverev then showed the character that won him this title in 2018 when he broke straight back, forcing his opponent into the net on his second break point after some blistering groundstrokes.

Both players held their serve for the remainder of the set to take us into an enthralling tie-break.

Berrettini raced into a strong position and forced Zverev into errors using his backhand slice, which resulted in him standing at 5-0 with the ball in hand for two serves.

But Zverev again showed his resilience, battling back to 6-6 and then having a set point of his own. But at 8-8, the German inexplicitly decided to attempt a 226km/h second serve that missed the target. That left Berrettini with another chance to serve at set point & he made no mistake, smashing the ball with no return.

The second set was an altogether much edgier affair, given what was on the line. Both players were comfortable on serve, with only Zverev getting a peek at a break in the seventh game of the set.

He couldn’t capitalise on that occasion but did so in the next Berrettini service game, forcing the Italian to himself double fault at an equally crucial moment.

That allowed Zverev to serve for the second set & the former champion duly delivered.

The final set started with both players pushing for the early break, attempting to pile the pressure on the man at the other side of the net.

And after saving one on his serve in the fourth game, Zverev took his chance in the very next one to lead for the first time in the match.

Berretinni was beginning to tire & his unforced error count was climbing. Both his forehand and his use of the drop shot was becoming too predictable & Zverev continued to pick him off.

Despite facing a breakpoint in his final service game, Zverev was in full flow now and broke again to win his 15th ATP title.

The German now heads into next weeks ATP 1000 in Rome with added confidence. He said, “Rome is also an event I like and enjoy, so I hope I can perform the same way I did here”.