ATP Madrid Open Final Picks: Carlos Alcaraz is on Another Level
Icon Sportswire/Getty. Pictured: Carlos Alcaraz.
- Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev are going head-to-head in the ATP Madrid Final.
- Alcaraz has been playing extremely well, does he have one more victory in him?
- David Gertler shares his best bet below.
Carlos Alcaraz vs. Alexander Zverev Odds
|Time||12:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. For tips on watching tennis matches, click here.|
Carlos Alcaraz continues to astonish the tennis world. After defeating Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals, Alcaraz followed up that win with another incredible victory in the semifinals. The Spaniard, in front of a raucous Spanish crowd, emerged victorious over Novak Djokovic 6-7(5), 7-5, 7-6(5).
Against Djokovic, Alcaraz won 66% of his service points and was saved five of six break points. Djokovic had some clutch serving, but when the rally started, Alcaraz dominated.
Alcaraz’s forehand, unbelievably, was the best shot on the court both Saturday against Djokovic and Friday when facing Nadal. Despite both Djokovic and Nadal’s movement, counterpunching ability and understanding of how to hold onto the baseline, Alcaraz managed to push both around with his forehand and dominate from the baseline.
And when Djokovic and Nadal got too far back in the court, that’s when Alcaraz would hit a perfect drop shot that no one on tour could get to. The 19 year-old’s tennis IQ and point construction is at a level not seen for a very long time.
Alcaraz has won nine matches in a row and 15 of his past 16 overall. He is confident and hitting with conviction — as seen when he served for the match against Nadal and when he was in the third set tiebreak against Djokovic. Alcaraz went for his shots and played without any fear in the clutch, which was even more impressive given the stature of his opponents.
Zverev’s first serve was terrific. He won 83% of his first serves against Tsitsipas and only got broken one time in the match. Zverev has won over 70% of his first serves in every match this week and has only been broken four times in four matches (although Musetti retired in the second set of their match).
In Madrid, Zverev has looked much more confident both on his first serve and on his forehand wing compared to last week in Munich, when Zverev lost early in the tournament to Holger Rune. Zverev’s forehand, especially, was a mess in that match and he lacked confidence in the shot. However, this week, Zverev is much more steady and playing with controlled aggression from that wing.
Zverev’s backhand has also been a key component to Zverev’s success in Madrid. The German does a great job of dictating play from the baseline with his backhand and forcing opponents back behind the baseline. Zverev will need his backhand Sunday to attempt to dictate against Alcaraz’s powerful game.
It’s extremely difficult to go against Alcaraz in his current form. Alcaraz is using his heavy forehand extremely effectively to dictate play from the baseline. Given the weight of the shot on his forehand and his ability to dictate, Zverev will be forced into more defensive positions than he would like, especially in altitude conditions.
Alcaraz will also rope Zverev into forehand-to-forehand rallies that the Spaniard will dominate. While Zverev’s forehand has been improved this week, he will struggle to keep his depth of shot and accuracy when going toe-to-toe with Alcaraz’s forehand.
In the backhand-to-backhand exchanges, Alcaraz is study enough and has enough controlled aggression to hold his own. And once Alcaraz has pushed Zverev far behind the baseline, he will employ perfect drop shots when the German least expects it. Zverev does not have the variety nor the precision to match Alcaraz.
While Zverev has a big serve in any environment, the altitude seems to be giving Alcaraz’s weaker (but improving) serve a boost. He’s won over 65% of his first-serve points in every match this tournament and does a great job mixing up the spins and placements on his serve.
Alcaraz showcased great physical strength in Barcelona when he defeated Alex De Minaur in the semifinals in over three-and-a-half hours and then had a straight-set victory over Pablo Carreno Busta in the final on the same day. Therefore, I’m not worried about fatigue from the over three-and-a-half-hour match against Djokovic, especially given that Zverev played until around 1 AM later that night.
Alcaraz can also cover the court with explosives bursts of speed. Therefore, he can track down a lot of Zverev’s groundstrokes and buy himself time to neutralize rallies and, eventually, turn them in his favor.
Pick: Alcaraz -3.5 games (-104 via FanDuel)