Earthquake, Koepfer can’t stop Zverev in Acapulco semi-finals

Alexander Zverev and Dominik Koepfer played through a mid-point earthquake in their Acapulco semi-final match on Friday night. It was Zverev who ended up emerging victorious in straight sets.

Zverev Melbourne

Alexander Zverev won an all-German matchup with Dominik Koepfer on Friday night to book his place in the final of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel. Zverev battled back from a break down in the second set to prevail 6-4, 7-6(5) after two hours and nine minutes.

The No 2 seed in Acapulco will play Stefanos Tsitsipas, who beat Lorenzo Musetti 6-1, 6-3 in the other semi-final.

First set

Playing in probably the third-biggest match of his career (smaller in stature than only the fourth round of the 2019 US Open and the quarter-finals of the 2020 Rome Masters), Koepfer came out nervous and flat. The underdog was broken in the opening game of the match and dropped serve again to fall behind 4-1. Zverev immediately gave back one of the breaks and he almost gave back both, but saving two break points at 4-3 proved to be decisive. The world No. 7 ended up holding and then held again at 5-4 to clinch the set.

Shift in the Earth, shift in momentum

There was an actual earthquake — albeit a minor one, thankfully — during the first game of the second set.

It only halted play for a matter of seconds, but there was a more seismic shift in the match. Koepfer earned a break of serve in the fourth game and eventually found himself leading 4-1 and then 5-2. The world No 71 went to deuce in each of his first four service games in the second set but held all of them.

It seemed like only a matter of time before Zverev finally got over the hump, and the break did in fact come with Koepfer serving for the set at 5-3. Zverev broke to stay alive and soon played his way into a tiebreaker. His experience in big moments likely played a part at that stage, as Koepfer fell behind with a couple of errors before Zverev came up with a clutch second serve at 5-5. The 23-year-old converted his first match point when Koepfer netted a backhand.

Zverev is through to his 23rd ATP final (and his second in Acapulco after finishing runner-up in 2019). Victory would give him his 14th title.

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