German tennis star Alexander Zverev was extremely happy after stunning Rafael Nadal on the clay courts of the Madrid Masters on Friday. Zverev, ranked at No. 6 in the world, handed a 6-4 6-4 loss to Nadal to progress into the Madrid Masters semifinal.
Nadal led 4-2 in the first set but Zverev then claimed back-to-back breaks to overturn the deficit and win the opener. Zverev broke Nadal in the fifth game of the second set to take a 3-2 lead and then held on to his serve to claim the win.
"[It is] definitely one of the biggest wins of my career so far, especially on clay against Rafa. It is the toughest thing to do in our sport,” Zverev said in his post-match interview. “Beating him in his house, in Spain, is incredible but the tournament is not over yet."
Meanwhile, Nadal was disappointed that he failed to capitalize on his first-set lead. "I had the match under control at the beginning, playing well for six games, probably playing better than him,” Nadal said.
“In the 4-2 [game], serving for 5-2, I [had] a disaster. Another bad game with my game [from] 30/0. Of course, playing against one of the best players of the world, under these circumstances, with this speed of the court, [it] is very difficult to still [feel] confident.
I tried, [but it] is true that the serve was difficult to control today. Well done [to] him”.
Zverev beat Nadal to set up a Dominic Thiem clash
“I know that I can do it [against Dominic],” Zverev said. “Everyone remembers the US Open final that we played.
I remember it certainly and it is still going to be in the back of my mind when we play tomorrow. I am looking forward to the match." Elsewhere, Norwegian tennis star Casper Ruud claimed a 7-5 6-1 win over Alexander Bublik to make his maiden Madrid Masters semifinal.
"It's a great feeling, it’s my third Masters 1000 semi-final, third in a row on clay," Ruud said on court. "I’m just playing the tennis of my life for the moment and I'm enjoying it."
Ruud plays next against either Matteo Berrettini or Cristian Garin. "I’ve just had an unbelievable motivation to play the European clay swing and when we didn’t get to play it last year, I was very sad," Ruud said. "So I think I just have double motivation compared to last year."