First set: Rafael Nadal * 2-4 Alexander Zverev: I was tearful through another service game with bigger deliveries. He's in incredible service rhythm right now, with 93% of first innings in and 86% of points behind.
That said, most of its first services come in at over 140 miles per hour and although it serves a great deal, it's usually not that great. Nadal rarely dips below 120mph. I guess the speed gun is a little cooked.
First set: Rafael Nadal 2-3 * Alexander Zverev: Zverev interrupts Nadal's servant for love and what a reciprocal game that was! Zverev opened up with a brilliant defensive low that overthrew Nadal, and then forced Nadal to mistake a forehand with a modern bruised crusade. At the first break, Nadal sent an easy forehand straight into the net. It wasn't good at all for the Spaniard, but Zverev came to play.
First set: Rafael Nadal * 2-2 Alexander Zverev: While Nadal's game service already contains long exchanges, Zverev's two visits were just a shower of aces and unpublished services. A few more services serve over 140mm / h. Absurd service.
First set: Rafael Nadal 2-1 * Alexander Zverev: Nadal comes through his first test with an amputee. A couple of excellent long exchanges, with Zverev's backhand slipping the line and forcing a mistake, and then Nadal did almost the same thing the following moment. Nadal has made it clear that he will direct Zverev's forehand and the German wants to take his weaker wing as far as possible. Zverev saved the momentum of 40-30 with a huge forehand, but then two sides sideways overpowered Nadal.
First set: Rafael Nadal * 1-1 Alexander Zverev: If it was Nadal's impressive serve, it was an absolute disgrace to Zverev. He broke one at 144mph and held on to one acre at 143 miles per hour. One of his first missed services recorded at 147mph. Wow.
First set: Rafael Nadal 1-0 * Alexander Zverev: If there are any questions about Nadal's abdominal muscles, the first 126 miles per hour that Nadal served, he said, should help ease many minds. Nadal's solid position with great service. Zverev closed the game by throwing a forehand into the net.
The players are out on the pitch. Sasha Zverev won the toss and chose to take it. Let's see how this goes.
So who will win? The headline says that Nadal enjoys this match great, and it is difficult to bet against Nadal given how well he has played. He has now won 30 of his last 31 games (ATP doesn't counters), including the French Open, US Open and two Masters 1000 events.
Yet, head to head, it seems that Zverev theoretically fits very well against Nadal. Its height and top-of-the-line backhand mitigate most of the effects of Nadal's heavy top and left swinging service. Indeed, Zverev actually did very well at their meetings, with their hard court meetings going into a decisive set. He really had to win their last match when he broke off in the final set of last year's final in Rome. Having the ability to beat Nadal is only half the battle.
There will be no better opportunity to confront Nadal than these inmates because he is trying to recover from injury. Then again, this is Rafael Nadal. Even at worst, the battle with the 19 grand slam champion is a terrifying prospect for everyone.
Hi! Welcome to two days of our coverage of the ATP finals of the O2 Arena in London. Earlier today, Stefanos Tzipipas finally made his mark on his bitter rivalry with Danil Medvedev, beating 7-6 (5) 6-4 to claim his first victory in six attempts.
Now, let's turn to a question that dominated the preparations for this tournament: Will Rafael Nadal be ready? After a minor abdominal tear forced him out of the semifinals in Paris a few weeks ago, Nadal did not start serving again until late last week. He improved with every passing day in practice this week and, by all accounts, looked comfortable in his last session earlier today.
If Nadal is healthy, he arrives in London as the player of the year so far, a fact confirmed by his return to top this week. He will certainly draw strength from how well he has fared in previous battles against Zverev. He has a 5-0 record against the German, including two victories on hard ground.
This was a difficult, difficult year for Zverev, but his legal dispute with his agent was finally settled and he played very well in the final months of this year. The fact that the 22-year-old has taken him to London after such a turbulent year speaks to his ability. The defending champion will not give up the title without a fight.