03:07 PM GMT May 09, 2021
The fifth seed, who was unable to convert a set point at 7/6 in the first-set tie-break, claimed three service breaks in the next two sets to complete a memorable week at La Caja Magica with the trophy. Zverev overcame three consecutive Top 10 stars to claim the title, following earlier wins against five-time champion Rafael Nadal and two-time runner-up Dominic Thiem.
“It is great [to win this title], especially after losing my last three finals I played at Masters 1000 events,” Zverev said in his post-match interview. “This is definitely special and I just want to enjoy this one.”
This is the second time that the 24-year-old has posted three or more Top 10 wins at a single event, following his 2018 title run at the Nitto ATP Finals (4). Zverev had not won consecutive matches in three straight tournaments before arriving in the Spanish capital.
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Zverev’s victory ended a three-year Masters 1000 title drought for the German. The World No. 6 did not drop his serve en route to his first Madrid crown in 2018. Zverev owns a 15-2 record in Madrid, which represents his best win percentage (.882) across all nine Masters 1000 tournaments.
Zverev and Berrettini’s clash was the fourth straight Masters 1000 final to be contested by past or present #NextGenATP players. Since the #NextGenATP campaign began in 2016, with players born in 1995 or later, Zverev has won more tour-level titles than any other #NextGenATP alumnus. The 6’6” right-hander has lifted 15 ATP Tour titles, five trophies clear of second-placed Daniil Medvedev (10).
Recent ATP Masters 1000 Finals Between #NextGenATP Alumni
|Event||Champion (Age)||Runner-Up (Age)|
|2021 Madrid||Alexander Zverev (24)||Matteo Berrettini (25)|
|2021 Monte-Carlo||Stefanos Tsitsipas (22)||Andrey Rublev (23)|
|2021 Miami||Hubert Hurkacz (24)||Jannik Sinner (19)|
|2020 Paris||Daniil Medvedev (24)||Alexander Zverev (23)|
After trading breaks late in the first set, Berrettini overpowered Zverev to establish a 5/0 tie-break lead. Zverev made a remarkable comeback to earn set point at 7/6, but Berrettini played with aggression on his serve and forehand to escape danger. Four points later, the Italian fired another powerful serve out wide to convert his fourth set point.
Zverev served with confidence and capitalised on a series of errors from his opponent at 4-4 in the second set to push the match to a decider, and he rode the momentum into the third set. The 2018 Nitto ATP Finals champion outlasted Berrettini in baseline rallies to break at 2-2 and he converted his second championship point when the eighth seed fired wide on an attempted crosscourt backhand.
“[Matteo’s] game style showed it all,” Zverev said. “I didn’t play anybody this week that can serve 235[km/h] on clay and serve 230km/h kick serves. It definitely was a different match and I am extremely happy right now.”
Zverev will now travel to Rome, where he will compete as the sixth seed at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. The 15-time ATP Tour titlist has reached two finals in the Italian capital, highlighted by his maiden Masters 1000 triumph in 2017.
“Rome is also an event I like and enjoy, so I hope I can perform [in] the same way as I did here and we will see how it goes there. I feel awesome,” Zverev said.
Berrettini was aiming to join 2019 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters champion Fabio Fognini as only the second Italian to win a Masters 1000 crown. The 25-year-old, who entered the Madrid final on an eight-match winning streak, defeated Fognini, Federico Delbonis, Cristian Garin and Casper Ruud en route to his maiden Masters 1000 final. Berrettini has compiled an 8-2 record on clay this year since recovering from an abdominal injury he sustained at the Australian Open in February.