Montreal final preview and prediction: Federer vs. Zverev

Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev will be facing each other for the fourth time in their careers and for the second time this season when they battle for the Rogers Cup title on Sunday.

Federer is leading the head-to-head series 2-0, including 1-0 in ATP finals. They most recently faced each other in the Halle championship match a few months ago, when the veteran Swiss got the job done 6-1, 6-3. A pair of 2016 encounters were split, with Federer prevailing 6-3, 7-5 on the red clay of Rome before Zverev scored a 7-6(4), 5-7, 7-3 upset in Halle.

On the heels of up-and-down 2016 campaigns for both men, they have shot up the charts this season. In fact, this is a potential preview of a World Tour Finals showdown–and at this rate perhaps even the final match of 2017. Federer has a beat on the year-end No. 1 ranking with two Grand Slam titles (Australian Open and Wimbledon) already under his belt, while Zverev will be third in the race to London on Monday.

The 20-year-old German has looked strong the whole way in 2017 and he is especially fine form at the moment. He boasts a 45-13 record and has won nine in a row dating back to the beginning of his run to the Washington, D.C. winner’s trophy last week. Making a quick turnaround in Montreal, Zverev’s campaign at this Masters 1000 tournament almost never got off the ground. He faced a match point against Richard Gasquet in his opener, saved it with an amazing 49-ball rally, and eventually survived 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(3). The world No. 8 has since made more routine work of Nick Kyrgios, Kevin Anderson, and Denis Shapovalov.

Speaking of match points, Federer has held them in all 37 of his matches this year. He is 35-2 with losses only to Evgeny Donskoy and Tommy Haas in a pair of respective thrillers (Dubai and Stuttgart). There has been no such competition to speak of dating back to Wimbledon. Federer rolled to the title there without dropping a single set and so far this week only David Ferrer has managed to snag one. The No. 2 seed recovered to win that contest in three, with additional victories over Peter Polansky, Roberto Bautista Agut, and Robin Haase to propel him into his sixth final of 2017.

“I think he’s definitely the favorite,” Zverev said of Federer. “He’s been playing amazing tennis. He pretty much won every single big tournament he played this year. I feel like I’m playing well. I know that I have to serve a lot better tomorrow than I did today. That was I think the thing that I struggled the most with today.

“I (have) played in five finals this year. I won four; the one that I lost was against Roger. There’s a reason for it.”

And there is a reason Federer should triumph once again. Zverev may finally be running on fumes and he is running into an opponent who will play aggressive, take the ball early, and put the youngster on the run. Just as Shapovalov’s amazing hot streak came to an end on Saturday, so too should Zverev’s in this one.

Pick: Federer in 2

5 Comments on Montreal final preview and prediction: Federer vs. Zverev

  1. Joe!…I’m really glad to hear that!…It’s not fun to hear a player suffered an injury especially when a big tourney looming….I wish Rog all the best k?

  2. As I wrote before the match. Montreal is not favourable land to Roger and the precedence will continue.

    it is similar to Rafa fate in Miami, however good he played before reaching the final. By the time he played in the final, he just could not really make it. Melbourne is his second unfavourable land. Only when he played for close to ten hours for last two matches in semi and final beating Verdasco and Fed, then he won the only one time there. He almost made it in the final vs Nole and Fed leading in five sets to give it away. Out of nowhere he was injured playing Stan whom he owned before that final.

    Like it or not, you need both capability and luck. Fed has both and his luck is just too damn good compared to all his peers.

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