Germany’s Alexander Zverev reached the final of the BMW Open in Munich to face Argentina’s Guido Pella.

The Setting

Rocketing up the rankings, Zverev cemented his strong 2016 campaign by capturing his first career title in St. Petersburg, beating three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka in the final. A few months later in the early part of 2017, he won another indoor event, this time in Montpellier.

But he was unable to immediately build from there, suffering a string of earlier-than-expected losses on hard courts—indoors and outdoors—and on clay. When he got to his “home” tournament in Munich, his fortunes turned and he reached his first clay-court final, where he’d face qualifier Guido Pella. The Argentine advanced to his second career championship bout with wins over Fabio Fognini and countryman Horacio Zeballos along the way.

The Final

Facing each other for the first time, Zverev and Pella would have to wait a bit longer to take the court than expected as rain led to the match starting nearly two hours later than planned. After the delay, the heavier conditions appeared to work more in Pella’s favor: The world No. 158 got an early break to take a 4-2 lead.

However, before the first set could get away from the young German, he managed to fend off another break, then leveled it with a break of his own to get to 4-all. Zverev then took the next two games to claim the opener 6-4.

In the second set, Zverev maintained his momentum, breaking Pella early behind a mix of powerful groundstrokes and feathery drop shots. Keeping his advantage, Zverev served for the title up 5-3, 40-0, clinching the championship on his first match point behind a serve that Pella was unable to return.

Notable Numbers

1

This was Zverev’s first title outdoors: The first two came on indoor hard courts.
 

5

Zverev became the fifth different German to reach the final of the tournament in the 2000s, with Philipp Kohlschreiber the most prolific, having won three titles out of five championship matches.
 

'05

The last Argentine to reach the Munich final was David Nalbandian in 2005. Pella actually became the first finalist from that country to lose in their debut appearance in the championship match.

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