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Rediff.com  » Sports » Zverev faces Thiem in Madrid final; Kvitova wins record third title

Zverev faces Thiem in Madrid final; Kvitova wins record third title

Last updated on: May 13, 2018 10:01 IST

IMAGE: Germany's Alexander Zverev, right, and Canada's Denis Shapovalov after their semi-final at the Madrid Open on Saturday. Photograph: Sergio Perez/Reuters

Germany's Alexander Zverev won the battle of the young guns against Denis Shapovalov on Saturday to set up a Madrid Open final against Austria's Dominic Thiem.

The 21-year-old third seed was clinical as he trounced erratic Canadian Shapovalov, two years his junior, 6-4, 6-1 in less than an hour on centre court.

Earlier in the day Thiem backed up his shock defeat of defending champion Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals to beat South Africa's Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-2 and reach the final for the second year in succession.

 

"It's obviously a great final for kind of the future ahead," Zverev said of the meeting with Thiem.

"We played five times against each other when he was already top 10 and I was more in the developing stage still. Obviously he's leading the head-to-head. But I'm playing quite well. So is he. Hopefully it will be another entertaining one.”

Zverev and Shapovalov did not take to court until around 10 pm local time after Petra Zvitova's marathon final victory over Kiki Bertens in the women's singles.

Initially it appeared the eagerly-anticipated clash between two dynamic shotmakers, who are expected to be battling for grand slams in the near future, would live up to the pre-match billing.

The opening eight games went with serve with Shapovalov producing some trademark backhands winners from his single-hander, including one audacious topspin lob.

Zverev already has two Masters 1000 titles to his name, and his greater experience told in the ninth game.

Shapovalov framed a forehand at 30-30 to offer the first break point of the match and Zverev pounced with a crunching backhand return his opponent fended into the net.

The second set proved a no-contest as Zverev took complete control against a dispirited looking opponent.

Dominic Thiem

IMAGE: Austria's Dominic Thiem in action during his semi- final against South Africa's Kevin Anderson. Photograph: Paul Hanna/Reuters

Thiem claimed a first win against Anderson at the seventh attempt with a commanding display.

None of the their previous meetings had been on Thiem's favoured clay and the surface proved decisive as he managed to dictate against Anderson who was appearing in his first semi-final of a Masters 1000 event.

Thiem needed a single break of serve in the opening set and broke twice in the second to wrap up victory.

He said his victory over Nadal had been a timely boost after being thrashed by the Spaniard in Monte Carlo and falling in the quarter-finals in Barcelona.

"It gave me a huge boost of confidence," he said. "That's for sure. But in the same time, it was a completely different match-up today.

"There was also the fact that I never beat him. It was 0-6 before today. Some things were a little bit shaky. But I was keeping my level up from yesterday, so that was a great thing."

Thiem will need to maintain his level if he is to claim a first Masters 1000 title on Sunday although her does boast a 4-1 career head-to-head lead over Zverev.

Kvitova downs Bertens to claim record third Madrid title

IMAGE: The Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova, right, celebrates with the trophy after winning the Madrid Open final against the Netherlands's Kiki Bertens. Photograph: Paul Hanna/Reuters

Petra Kvitova outlasted the unseeded Kiki Bertens to win a thrilling Madrid Open final on Saturday 7-6(8-6), 4-6 ,6-3 and become the first player to lift the trophy for a third time.

Czech Kvitova, ranked 10th in the world, struck the first blow in a tense match which lasted two hours 52 minutes by edging the tie-break at the end of a gruelling 75-minute first set, taking advantage of a third set point when Bertens found the net.

The Dutchwoman had beaten Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Sharapova in a sparkling week in the Spanish capital to reach her first premier mandatory final and recovered well from surrendering the first set to take the second.

She led by a break in the third but let her advantage slip and Kvitova broke twice in a row to take a 4-2 lead in the decider.

Bertens broke back to make it 4-3 but lost her next service game and Kvitova served out the final game to love, sealing victory when Bertens hit the tramlines with a backhand.

In doing so, she took her landmark third title, surpassing the two each won by Serena Williams and Simona Halep in Madrid, which established a women's section in 2009.

"Everything what I had in my body, I just tried to put it out, even if it was very, very tough today," Kvitova said.

"She played great tennis. It was a big fight. We both should be very proud of this beautiful final we played today."

Bertens paid tribute to her opponent and agreed with Kvitova that the final had been a thrilling spectacle.

"It was a great final. I had some chances in the beginning of the third, but didn't take it. Petra was playing some unbelievable shots there. So, yeah, credit to her today," she said.

Twice-Wimbledon winner Kvitova was forced out of action for more than five months last year after her racket hand was stabbed by a burglar who broke into her apartment in December 2016.

But she has returned with a vengeance, winning the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy, the Qatar Total Open and the Prague Open this year before making history in Madrid.

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