Zverev vs Gasquet 24.06.17
Gerry Weber Open, Halle, Germany, Clay Courts, Mens ATP Tour
Today we turn our attention to the second Semi Final on court at the Gerry Weber Open, Halle, Germany, between world number 12 and home favourite, Alexander Zverev and French world number 30, Richard Gasquet. This should be a cracking match, Zverev has had a meteoric rise to fame in 2017 and will be resoundingly supported by the partisan home crowd today. Gasquet has looked back to something like his best this week after a string of injuries, so let’s hope the Frenchman can stay fit for the rest of the grass court season, as he is always very very fun to watch.
These two have met twice, both this year, both on hard courts, both have won one each. Gasquet won in the Hopman Cup, Australia in January this year 7-5 6-3, and Zverev followed this up with a win a month later in the Final in Montpellier, France, taking the title with a 7-6 6-3 win.
Gerry Weber Open Results So Far…
Zverev opened up against the Italian, Paulo Lorenzi and comfortably won in an hour, 6-3 6-2. In Round 2, the German had another straight sets victory, this time against the dangerous Phillip Kohlschreiber, 6-3 6-4. Kohlschreiber looked out of sorts and struggled for consistency throughout, he also really struggled to defend against Zverev’s hard hitting from the back of the court. Round 3 was Zverev’s biggest test so far, he faced up to Roberto Bautista Agut, not renowned for being the best grass court player, the Spaniard shocked the home crowd by taking the first set on a tiebreak. The second set went the same way, this time Zverev managed to take the breaker 7-1 to set up a decider. Losing that second set seemed to take the stuffing out of Bautista Agut and he really struggled right from the off, Zverev took it 6-1 in under half an hour to advance into today’s Semi Final.
Gasquet has had a slightly more testing route to the Semi’s, he faced fellow countryman, Gael Monfils in Round 1, eventually winning through in over two hours, 3-6 6-4 6-3. In Round 2 he faced the ever-unpredictable, Bernard Tomic, two breaks of the Aussie’s serve in each set was enough to for Gasquet to come through comfortably 6-3 6-3. Yesterday’s Quarter Final against Robin Haase was a very topsy turvy match, with both players playing some truly brilliant and really poor tennis in patches. Gasquet was in imperious form in winning the first set 6-1 in under half an hour, Haase then came out and played magnificently in set two to take it 3-6. The Dutchman then had complete mental meltdown in the deciding set, losing his serve twice in his opening two service games, allowing Gasquet to take the set 6-1 and advance into the Semi’s.
Zverev’s recent grass court mean serving stats look like this, he’s won 72% of his service points and held serve 93% of the time.
Gasquet’s recent grass court mean serving stats look like this, he’s won 67% of his service points and held serve 86% of the time.
Zverev has the much bigger serve, and he will win lots of free points of this today. Gasquet’s hits his serve with lots of slice and the grass courts certainly help him maximise its effectiveness. The Frenchman will need to ensure that his first serve % is very high today, or he could be in for a long afternoon..
Zverev’s recent grass court mean returning stats look like this, he’s won 41% of his return points, 58% of his break points and opponents have held 68% of the time against him.
Gasquet’s recent grass court mean returning stats look like this, he’s won 42% of his return points, 34% of his break points and opponents have held 65% of the time against him.
Both players return serve well, Zverev likes to hit through the ball off the return, whereas Gasquet looks to block and chip the ball back into play. Zverev will certainly be looking to take on the Frenchman’s serve today, especially his sometimes fragile second delivery. Gasquet will look to put plenty of balls back into play, however i can’t see how he is going to be able to hurt Zverev off the return with this strategy. I feel like this will play right into the German’s hands and allow him time to start dictating the rallies with his big forehand.
Zverev will be hitting hard, flat balls from the back off the court off either wing, right from the off. Gasquet will be hitting with topspin off both sides and looking to keep the ball deep. Gasquet does however sometimes struggle with his depth of shot, especially when on the defensive, something which he will be right from the off today. Zverev is 6ft 4in tall, and if Gasquet drops the ball too short it’s going to be right in the German’s hitting zone for an easy put away. I fear for the Frenchman today unless he can keep the ball low with slice, this however is not his natural game.
I can’t look beyond a Zverev win today, he has the better serve, should get some success off his aggressive returns, and will be able to hit through the Frenchman’s defence with his hard hitting groundies. If Gasquet is going to win a set I think he will need to hit a first serve % of 70+ and mix plenty of slice in with his topspin backhands. Probably Zverev in two.
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