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Alexander Zverev battles past Marin Cilic to reach Italian Open tennis final

Defending Italian Open champion Alexander Zverev overcame Marin Cilic in the semi-final to stretch his winning run to 13 matches to reach the final in Rome, where he will face Rafael Nadal.

tennis Updated: May 20, 2018 10:13 IST
Alexander Zverev,Marin Cilic,Italian Open tennis
Alexander Zverev in action during his Italian Open semi-final match in Rome against Marin Cilic on May 19, 2018. (REUTERS)

In-form Alexander Zverev battled his way past Marin Cilic to set up a final showdown with Rafael Nadal at theItalian Open tennis tournament.

The second seed, who is looking to follow up his tournament win in Madridby retaining his title in Rome,extended his unbeaten run to 13 matches with a hard-fought 7-6 (15-13) 7-5 victory.

Cilic played his part in a compelling tussle but failed to make the most ofhis opportunities, particularly in alengthy tie-break to decide the outcome of a tight opening set.

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The big-serving duo matched each other all the way before Zverev eventuallycame out on top, though not before he lost his cool after a debatable call.

After smashing his racket in frustration, the German quickly regained his composure, taking the set when some excellent defensive work led to his opponent dumping a shot into the net.

The Croatian responded to the disappointment with an early break in the second, yet Zverev bided his time before drawing levelin the eighth game.

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He went on to clinch the win with a backhand down the line as he came up to the net to meet a drop shot, sending the ball beyond a stranded Cilic to settle the contest after just over two hours on court.

Nadal had triumphed earlier in the day, overcoming Novak Djokovic7-6 (7-4) 6-3 to increase his chances of taking over from Roger Federer at the top of the world rankings.

First Published: May 20, 2018 09:24 IST