PARIS (Reuters) – Alexander Zverev says he must be “error-free” if he was to defeat top-seeded Spaniard Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals of the Paris Masters on Saturday.
Spain’s 20-time Grand Slam champion Nadal beat fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 4-6 7-5 6-1 on Friday before Zverev downed Swiss Stan Wawrinka 6-3 7-6(1) to set up a blockbuster clash.
“When you play Rafa at any stage of the tournament, you have to be error-free to have success,” Zverev told reporters after his victory.
“Even though at later stages I think all the top players always play better and it’s even more difficult to beat them. I’m looking forward to that match. It’s going to be a very difficult challenge.
“I think Rafa is extremely motivated here. He has never won this tournament, so I think for him this is extra motivation, as well. For me as well. This is the best result so far that I have done in Paris, but I hope I can go further.”
While both players are aiming for their maiden Paris Masters title, the 23-year-old Zverev trails 5-1 against Nadal in previous meetings with his only win coming against the Spaniard at last year’s ATP Finals in London.
“I mean, I think most of the tennis players on this planet are in a deficit against Rafa,” Zverev said with a smile. “I think that’s quite normal.”
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)