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Zverev vs Berrettini tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Slumping Zverev in danger against in-form Italian clay-courter in Rome

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 13 May 2019
  • Third seed Alexander Zverev faces Matteo Berrettini in the second round of the Rome Masters
  • Zverev vs Berrettini is live from Rome on Tuesday at 2.30pm local/1.30pm BST
Alexander Zverev (PA Sport)

Third seed and 2018 finalist Alexander Zverev could be at risk of an early defeat at the Rome Masters as he faces in-form Italian clay-courter Matteo Berrettini.

One year ago, Alexander Zverev beat Matteo Berrettini to start his progress towards the Rome Masters final – can he do it again?

Zverev has failed to defend his Munich and Madrid titles (PA Sport)
This time last year, Zverev came into Rome as the defending champion and the newly-crowned Madrid Masters champion as he enjoyed a resplendent clay-court season, and beat Berrettini – then ranked world no. 103 – 7-5, 6-2, the seventh of a ten-match winning streak that would take him to his second straight final at the Foro Italico before it was finally snapped by Rafael Nadal, who claimed his eighth title.

Things are a bit different 12 months on. Zverev is still ranked world no. 3 and continued to consolidate his position as one of the best in the world by winning the Nitto ATP Finals at the end of 2018, but he is just 15-9 so far in 2019 and he has struggled to defend the points he gained last year. The highlight has been a runner-up finish to Nick Kyrgios in Acapulco, but he couldn’t defend his Miami runner-up finish (lost in the second round to David Ferrer), his Munich title (lost in the quarterfinals to Cristian Garin) or his Madrid title (losing in the quarterfinals to Stefanos Tsitsipas).

It's no secret that the world no. 3 is short on wins and confidence as he comes into Rome, where he will be trying to reach his third straight final. But he did play some decent tennis in Madrid: Finally retiring David Ferrer in straight sets, then overcoming rising big-serving Pole Hubert Hurkacz in three sets before a lack of attack in key moments cost him the match against Tsitsipas, 5-7, 6-3, 2-6. 

‘If I played a little more aggressive in that third set on breakpoints, maybe I go up a break and win the match as well. But everything happens for a reason,’ Zverev said of his defeat to his Greek rival.

‘And I still got to improve. And as I said a few weeks ago, I think every week is going to be better for me and this week was better than the last week, the last week was better than the previous week, and next week I hope is going to be better than this week, so basically for the French Open I'll be perfect,’ he went on, finishing with a laugh.

There’s no question that Zverev did play a bit better in Madrid than he has done recently, and it’s about time the confident young German had a bit of a sophomore slump – but he has runner-up points to defend here, and quarterfinal points at the French Open, so from the perspective of both ranking points and confidence, it seems like he can’t afford another early exit in Rome.

This is bad news, because his second-round opponent is a tough one.

Matteo Berrettini (PA Sport)
Things are also looking rather different for Matteo Berrettini than they did 12 months ago. Then he was ranked outside the world’s top 100; now the 23-year-old is ranked world no. 33, just on the brink of being seeded for Grand Slams. He first broke into the top 100 at last year’s French Open, where he made the third round, and went on to win his first ATP Tour title on clay in Gstaad in July, ending 2018 at world no. 54. 

His climb has continued in 2019, starting with a semifinal run in Sofia on hard courts where he beat Karen Khachanov and Fernando Verdasco before losing to Marton Fucsovics. Berrettini went on to win the Phoenix Challenger after being knocked out in the first round of the Indian Wells Masters, and although he would lose his first match on European clay to Grigor Dimitrov at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, he went on to win the next nine; first claiming his second ATP Tour title in Budapest, then going to finish runner-up to Garin in Munich, beating Philipp Kohlschreiber and Roberto Bautista Agut on the way.

Berrettini didn’t play in Madrid, but he’s already off to a winning start in Rome with a 6-2, 6-4 of slumping Australian Open semifinalist Lucas Pouille and will obviously have the passionate Foro Italico crowd on his side as he sets his sights on taking down Zverev in the second round.

Berrettini has an 0-2 record against top-10 players, having lost to both Zverev and Dominic Thiem on clay in 2018, but he’s obviously much more confident and higher-ranked in 2019 – and Zverev has already lost three matches on clay this year to players ranked outside the top 30. On the other hand, this doesn’t feel like an uncomfortable match-up for Zverev: Berrettini is a big server, but so is he, and if he can serve well and be disciplined about not falling back behind the baseline and rolling the ball in – and improve on his dismal 1/5 break-point conversion record from the Tsitsipas match – he could still avoid the upset in Rome.

Zverev vs Berrettini Mutua Madrid Open tennis is live from Madrid on Tuesday at 2.30pm local/1.30pm BST

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Zverev vs Berrettini tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Slumping Zverev in danger against in-form Italian clay-courter in Rome

Alexander Zverev vs Matteo Berrettini live streaming, preview and predictions for the ATP Rome Masters second-round match on Tuesday 13 May: Budapest champion Berrettini has won ten of his last 11 clay-court matches but has never beaten a top-10 player

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