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Sascha Captures Rome for Second Time

Sascha Captures Rome for Second Time
May 19, 2024

The Italian Open, or in Italian the Internazionali BNP d'Italia, is one of the most important tennis tournaments in the world. It is arguably the second most important clay court tournament in the world after the French Open. There is so much prestige in winning this championship at the Foro Italico, which is such a dramatic stadium. It is almost like a modern day Colisseum.

In front of a massive crowd on a Roman spring day Alexander Zverev won his second title there, seven years after winning it the first time as the youngest Rome champion in 2017. He is the tenth player to capture multiple titles in the Eternal City.

 Zverev the third seed defeated first time ATP Masters 1000 finalist Nicolas Jarry 6-4, 7-5 in one hour 41 minutes. The backbone of the German's game was his serve, especially so in this final. He lost just five points on serve, he had a first serve percentage of 80% and he won 95% of those points. He also kept his error rate to a minimum; playing just eight unforced errors compared to Jarry's 29.

"I've been playing well all week from the first point of the first round till now," Zverev said. "Obviously extremely happy with how things went. Struggled a little bit in the semi-finals but got my way out of it.

"Today was a great performance. I think Nico has been somebody that has been playing extremely well. The way that he beat the opponents, what kind of opponents he beat as well shows that he's been absolutely on fire. I had to neutralize that. I had to neutralize his serve, as well, a lot. Of course, I'm happy to be sitting next to this trophy.

"Before this tournament, the clay court season didn't go as well as I would have hoped for. But, of course, it's all about finding your rhythm. I'm happy that I did it here right before Roland Garros. Hopefully I can take it into Roland Garros and play some of my best tennis there, as well."

Rome is special for Zverev where he is the tenth player to win it multiple times. It was the scene of his first Masters 1000 title and now it's his first Masters 1000 title since coming back after that horrendous ankle injury he suffered while playing Rafa Nadal at the 2022 French Open. This is his first title since the Chengdu Open last September and his first Masters 1000 title (sixth career) since Cincinnati 2021.

Asked if he is going into Roland Garros with there being a sense of unfinished business, Zverev said: "That's an interesting question because obviously being there three times in the semifinals in a row, playing some of the best tennis of my life there when I injured my ankle, so in general it is always determined and marked in my calendar throughout the past few years. 

"This year there's no exception. That's the one that I want to win. That's the one that I look forward the most maybe throughout the year. I'm going to do everything I can this year and we'll see where I can end up."

For Jarry there was emotion at the end as he held back tears when he looked to his wife, two little children and his grandfather, the past player from Chile Jaime Fillol. Nico was the first Chilean to reach a 1000 final since Fernando Gonzalez in 2007, also in Rome.

"There have been a lot of sacrifices and a lot of people behind me and support me," Jarry said. "It's been a n hour to play in this stadium. It is not the trophy I wanted but I take this home with great pride.

"My feeling right now is I want to go to Roland Garros and play better because I know I can play better and do good there. I'm very motivated. That's how I am right now."

The doubles title went to the top seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos who defeated Marcelo Arevelo and Mate Pavic 6-2, 6-2.

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