Olympic tennis champion Alexander Zverev is close to winning the tournament at the dress rehearsal for the French Open. The 27-year-old won his semi-final match at the Masters 1000 tournament against Chilean outsider Alejandro Tabilo 1:6, 7:6 (7:4), 6:2.

By reaching the ATP final for the first time this year, Zverev gained further self-confidence for the second Grand Slam tournament of the year in Paris, which begins in a week and a half.

The world number five will face Chilean Nicolas Jarry in the final on Sunday as the favourite, who beat Tommy Paul from the USA 6:3, 6:7 (3:7), 6:3 in the evening. For Zverev from Hamburg, it is the eleventh final in a Masters 1000 tournament, which puts him on a par with German tennis icon Boris Becker.

“It’s a match that you can only lose. That’s why it’s obviously not easy mentally. But I’ve been in this situation before, it’s not the first time for me. I know what to do, that helped me “, said Zverev on Sky and added with a view to the final: “If I play my game and concentrate on myself, then I know what to do and that I have a good chance.”

Zverev has to accept the first set loss in the tournament

In his ninth Masters semi-final on clay – only the tennis icons Rafael Nadal (37), Novak Djokovic (28) and Roger Federer (19) have more to their name – Zverev got off to a miserable start – which was mainly due to the tricky and tactical clever Tabilo lay. In the first set, which was lost after just 31 minutes, Zverev was only able to get his serve through once. It was the Hamburger’s first set loss in the tournament. It was at least not obvious that the pain in the little finger of his left hand, which he had felt after a fall in the quarterfinals against the American Taylor Fritz, was still hindering him.

From the second set onwards, Zverev adjusted better to the game of his opponent, who had defeated world number one Novak Djokovic from Serbia in the third round. Tabilo also became increasingly discouraged. Zverev ended the match with an ace after 2:17 hours.

Zverev had already won in Rome in 2017. The clay court tournament is the last big test of form before the French Open in Paris, which begins on May 26th, where Zverev is also one of the extended circle of title candidates.