Rafael Nadal vs. Alexander Zverev Preview
Where: Melbourne Park – Melbourne, Australia
When: Friday, January 20, 2017
Writer’s Pick: Rafael Nadal (-260)
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Betting on Rafael Nadal (-260)
It’s been so far so good for Rafael Nadal in Melbourne. The Spanish superstar has seemingly put his humiliating first-round exit in last year’s Australian behind him, as he has breezed by the first two rounds of this year’s tournament. After making short work of World No. 49 Florian Mayer – 6-3 6-4 6-4 – he made even shorter work of World No. 36 Marcos Baghdatis, 6-3 6-1 6-3.
Nadal put a whopping 80 percent of his first serves in play, and also won 63 percent of his second serves against Baghdatis. Nadal has now won 74 percent of his second serves over his first two matches, which is a big reason why his serve has been broken just once in the tournament.
Nadal’s patented return game wasn’t quite on point against Mayer, but he improved against Baghdatis as he won half of his return points.
Up next for the World No. 9 is a meeting with young German Alexander Zverev. The Spaniard won his lone meeting to date with the 19-year-old. The two met last year at Indian Wells, with Nadal winning in three sets, 6-7(8), 6-0, 7-5.
Betting on Alexander Zverev (+200)
World No. 24 Alexander Zverev was given quite a scare in the first round as he needed all five sets to beat Robin Haase, 6-2, 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2. Perhaps the youngster was still shaking off some rust, seeing as that was his very first match of the season.
However, he seems to have completely shaken off that rust, as evidenced by his dominant 6-2, 6-3, 6-4, second-round win over Frances Tiafoe. Zverev saved all five break points he faced, while converting four of his eight break point opportunities.
Zverev is one of the bright young stars on tour. He possesses some terrific baseline power, which Nadal knows all too well as the 19-year-old gave him some problems in their first meeting.
Zverev may be young, but has already brought down some top stars during his time on tour. He famously beat Roger Federer in the grass courts of Halle last year. He also defeated a couple of top-10 players in Tomas Berdych and Stan Wawrinka to claim his first-ever ATP title in St. Petersburg.
Nadal (-260) is once again made to work by Zverev, but Nadal’s experience shines through as he wins in four sets.
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