ROME: Alexander Zverev warmed up for the French Open by winning his sixth Masters title when he beat first-time finalist Nicolas Jarry 6-4, 7-5 in the Italian Open showpiece on Sunday.

It was a second title in Rome for Zverev, having won his first in 2017 when he was 20, and his first trophy since he broke his ankle in the French Open semi-finals in 2022.

The 27-year-old will also climb to fourth in the rankings as he slowly returns to his best ahead of Roland Garros.

“Obviously winning my first ever [Masters title] here in Rome and winning my first after my injury also in Rome, so Rome is a very special place for me. It is a very, very special week,” third seed Zverev said.

Chilean Jarry, who had beaten Stefanos Tsitsipas and Tommy Paul to reach the final, could not break Zverev after the German won 95% of his first-serve points.

The aggressive number 21 seed Jarry had relied on his big serve to reach the final but Zverev was up to the task, absorbing the pressure and committing few unforced errors.

However, Jarry managed to save three match points before Zverev finally clinched victory in Rome, where he dropped only one set in the tournament.

“He is playing huge and you can see by the players he has beaten here this week, [he is] playing incredible tennis,” Zverev said of Jarry. “I told him if he continues to play like that he will have many chances at this level. Today I am extremely happy to be the winner.”

Earlier, Sara Errani and Jasmine Paolini gave Italian fans something to cheer after beating Coco Gauff and Erin Routliffe to the women’s doubles title.

Unseeded Errani and Paolini made the Foro Italico crown roar by beating reigning US Open singles champion Gauff and Routliffe 6-3, 4-6, 10-8.

Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2024

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