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Zverev vs Cecchinato French Open tennis preview, head-to-head and predictions

hannahwilks in French Open 01 Oct 2020
Alexander Zverev (ChrysleneCaillaud/Panoramic)

After one five-set duel, Alexander Zverev could be in for another against former French Open semifinalist Maro Cecchinato.

Zverev vs Cecchinato is live from Roland Garros on Friday 2 October, 

For the third year in a row, Alexander Zverev found himself being taken the distance on his way to the third round of the French Open as he had to battle for four hours to beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

French Open 2020: Find out tournament information for Roland Garros 2020 and how to stream French Open matches live

If the US Open finalist is to make another deep run at a Grand Slam he needs to keep these early-round matches short, but will that be achievable against Marco Cecchinato, architect of one of the most unexpected French Open semifinal runs of recent times?

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

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Zverev vs Cecchinato: Head-to-head

Alexander Zverev leads the head-to-head with Marco Cecchinato 1-0, having beaten the Italian 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-4 in the first round of the Australian Open in January.

Zverev vs Cecchinato: Preview

Sixth seed Alexander Zverev may have won his only previous match against Marco Cecchinato in straight sets, but that might not mean much – of Cecchinato’s seven main-draw Grand Slam wins before this year’s tournament, all seven have come at the French Open: Two in 2020, when he has beaten 25th seed Alex de Minaur and Juan Ignacio Londero, and five in 2017, when he beat Pablo Carreno Busta, David Goffin and Novak Djokovic to make the semifinals.

Best known before that run for being suspected of match-fixing, Cecchinato was propelled upwards as high as world no. 16 after winning his second ATP Tour title of the season in Umag, picking up a third title in early 2019 in Buenos Aires. But his failure to defend his French Open points – he lost in the first round to Nicolas Mahut – sent him plummeting downwards again and by the end of 2019 he was playing Challengers.

Marco Cecchinato (Credit Image: © Benoit Doppagne/Belga via ZUMA Press)

Now ranked world no. 110 and again having spent much of his season so far playing Challengers, Cecchinato successfully qualified for the Rome Masters and now for the French Open. He breezed through qualifying without dropping a set in wins over the likes of former semifinalist Ernests Gulbis, and is now on a five-match winning streak.

All of this could be dangerous for Zverev. The German appeared to have bounced back nicely from his failure to serve out the US Open final when he beat Dennis Novak in the first round, but against Herbert in the second all his worst instincts – dropping back and rallying passively, relying on his fitness to out-grind his opponent rather than using his height and power to impose himself on the match – were on display; he also hit 11 double faults.

This will get him into trouble against Cecchinato, who plays an elegant, swashbuckling, attacking blend of tennis that is extremely effective when the Italian is performing well (as Djokovic can attest). Zverev absolutely cannot afford to play passively or wait for Cecchinato to miss, or he will end up at the least getting sucked into a lengthy match, possibly even losing. I anticipate a four-set tussle at least; their one match so far went 32 games in straight sets and Zverev won by six games.

Zverev vs Cecchinato: Prediction