In a display of unwavering composure and precision, Alexander Zverev advanced to the final of the Chengdu Open, inching closer to his second ATP Tour title this season. The top-seeded German sensation showcased his impeccable skills by thwarting Grigor Dimitrov's determined challenge, securing a 6-3, 7-6(2) victory. Zverev's stellar performance was marked by his ability to save all five break points he encountered. Throughout the match, he unleashed 21 powerful winners, including nine aces, establishing himself as a formidable contender.
With this triumph, Zverev extended his dominance over Dimitrov, amassing an impressive 7-1 record in their head-to-head encounters. His journey to the final was no cakewalk, as he battled through grueling three-set contests against Pavel Kotov and Miomir Kecmanovic earlier in the tournament. The World No. 10, now riding a wave of momentum, eagerly anticipates his championship clash against Roman Safiullin on Tuesday.
Reflecting on his remarkable performance, Zverev shared, "For sure it was the best match I've played [in Chengdu]. Even though I think yesterday's match was of a very high level, and Kecmanovic was playing extremely well. I'm very happy to be in the final, that's what I came here for, and hopefully, it's going to be another high-level match tomorrow."
Zverev's Season and Safiullin's Challenge
Zverev's 2023 season continues to flourish as he boasts a commendable 45-21 record, positioning himself seventh in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, vying for a spot in the prestigious Nitto ATP Finals, where he is a two-time champion. However, standing in his path in Chengdu is the formidable Roman Safiullin, who is set to make his maiden ATP Tour final appearance. Zverev acknowledges Safiullin's growth since their last encounter, where he defeated the current World No. 55 in straight sets at Roland Garros in 2021.
Commenting on Safiullin's prowess, Zverev noted, "I think this tournament he has been one of the most dangerous players. He is somebody that plays very fast, hits the ball extremely hard, and he is somebody that maybe sometimes lacks consistency. This week obviously he's playing extremely well, and when he's playing like that, he's one of the most dangerous players."
Safiullin's impressive journey to the final involved a commanding victory over second seed Lorenzo Musetti, triumphing 6-3, 6-4. The Russian showcased a masterful display of ball-striking, outclassing Musetti with 30 winners to 20. Safiullin's stellar performance not only secured his spot in the final but also propelled him to a career-high No. 41 in the Live Rankings, a significant climb from his initial ranking of No. 55 at the start of the event.
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