Mexico Open preview: Alexander Zverev ready to break through
All eyes turn to Mexico on the ATP Tour, as we set to go loco down in Acapulco for the Mexican Open. And the one man who could deliver the goods is German hot-shot Alexander Zverev. At just 22 years old, he’s already being tipped to be the man to break tennis’ traditional ‘Big Four’ and this could give him his first taste of success in 2020.
Zverev already has 11 ATP single titles to his name, and he won the doubles event here in Mexico along with his older brother, Mischa, 12 months ago. He knows what to take to win, lift the trophy and wear that coveted sombrero!
Zverev fared well in Australia
Zverev is now up to No. 7 in the world and arrives in Mexico off a semi-final appearance in the Aussie Open in January. Dominic Thiem prevented him making an appearance in a Grand Slam final in Melbourne, beating him 3-1 in sets with two of those sets being decided by a tiebreaker.
Last year ended in disappointment when he lost the Mexico Open final to Nick Kyrgios, but you wouldn’t bet against him going one better this time around.
Don't overlook Nadal
The undoubted star of the show is world No. 2 Rafa Nadal, the man with 19 Grand Slam singles titles and an overflowing trophy cabinet. He is in the other half of the draw to Zverev which could set up a fantastic final.
Nadal was the youngest champion ever of the Mexico Open, winning it in 2005 at just 18, and eight years later he came back to regain his crown. His two appearances here since though have been less impressive. He lost the 2017 final to Sam Querrey who was ranked No. 40 at the time before crashing out in the Round of 16 last year.
Wawrinka and Kyrgios are lurking
Elsewhere in the field, Stan Wawrinka is looking for his first tournament win since May 2017, but he’s only made it past the quarter-final stage twice in his last 18 tournaments. Canadian 19-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime made the final of an ATP 500 event in Rotterdam earlier this month and will be looking to continue that run of form, while the bad-boy of tennis Nick Kyrgios is back in Mexico to defend his title.
Kyrgios pushed Nadal close before going down in the Last 16 of the Aussie Open, and will come here full of confidence after last year’s trophy gave him the first of two tournament wins.
Isner is worth a look
John Isner is an interesting betting proposition considering he has said on record that he enjoys tournaments at this time of year and last year made the semi-finals of the New York Open and then the Mexico Open. While he didn’t have the same success in NYC in 2020, he made the semi-final of the ASB Classic in New Zealand and could string together a good run in Acapulco. Isner and his wife had their second child in October, and now that he’s shook off a little bit of court rust he could be an outside bet to go deep into the competition.