Alexander Zverev against Andrey Rublev at the 2020 Australian Open
Date: 22 August 2021
Tournament: 2021 Western & Southern Open
Venue: Cincinnati, Ohio
Category: ATP Masters 1000
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $3,028,140
Match timing: Not before 4.30 pm local time, 8.30 pm GMT, 2 am IST (Monday)
Live telecast: USA – Tennis Channel | UK – Amazon Prime Video
Alexander Zverev vs Andrey Rublev preview
The Western & Southern Open will have a new champion this year as two first-time finalists – Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev – will square off in the summit clash on Sunday.
Zverev pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in recent memory to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinals on Saturday. After winning the first set 6-4, the German’s game, particularly his serve, came unstuck as Tsitsipas leveled the match at one set all.
Zverev was dealing with stomach issues too, for which he required some medical attention. And Tsitsipas capitalized on the German’s issues by amassing a 4-1 40-30 lead (double break) in the deciding set.
At that point, not many gave the Olympic champion a chance of making it to the final. But Zverev seemed reinvigorated after the injury break, and he broke Tsitsipas twice in succession – once while the latter served for the match.
In the ensuing tiebreak, Zverev’s first serve started firing in emphatic fashion. The German landed all five of his first serves, which helped him clinch his place in the final.
Zverev had lost all six of his Cincinnati matches prior to this year, but has now won four matches on the trot in the American city. The 24-year-old enters Sunday’s final on a 10-match winning streak, which includes his gold-medal run at the Olympics.
Andrey Rublev, meanwhile, staged a comeback of his own, albeit a less dramatic one. He trailed his compatriot Daniil Medvedev by a set, at which point many believed he would crash to a fifth career defeat against his compatriot.
But Rublev turned things around in style by changing things tactically. He started being more patient in the rallies and pulling the trigger at the right time, which helped him break down Medvedev’s defenses in the second and third sets.
Rublev also ensured that his serve was up to the mark, which meant the top seed didn’t have too many chances in his return games.
Alexander Zverev vs Andrey Rublev head-to-head
Alexander Zverev leads Andrey Rublev by a margin of 4-0 in the head-to-head. Rublev’s record against Zverev is quite similar to that against Medvedev; the Russian is yet to win a set against the German in four previous encounters.
Alexander Zverev vs Andrey Rublev prediction
Andrey Rublev will by no means be the underdog against Alexander Zverev
Many believed Andrey Rublev didn’t stand much of a chance against a red-hot Daniil Medvedev, given his record against the latter. But Rublev flipped the switch by staging arguably one of the smartest performances of his career to finally beat his compatriot.
As such, even though Rublev has a poor record against the in-form Alexander Zverev, he cannot be written off by any means.
But Zverev, in recent weeks, has demonstrated a Novak Djokovic-like resilience in addition to his spectacular tennis skills. And that gives him the slight edge in Sunday’s summit clash.
Prediction: Alexander Zverev to win in three sets.