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US Open ATP Match of the Day: Alexander Zverev vs. Brandon Nakashima
We know Brandon Nakashima is the real deal, but now the 19-year-old will test his game against one of the world's best players in Alexander Zverev.
Published Sep 01, 2020
By now, whether you’ve seen him play or heard through the grapevine, you should know that Brandon Nakashima is the real deal. But just how good is the 19-year-old from San Diego? We’ll soon find out as he takes on world No. 7 Alexander Zverev on Wednesday.
According to USTA pro circuit commentator Mike Cation, who has had a front row seat for much of Nakashima’s success on the Challenger circuit, his ceiling is high, but his floor is what makes him special.
“It's rare to see a 19-year-old who can analyze his strengths/weaknesses and his opponents' as well as he does,” Cation said. That, combined with the fact that he doesn't have a massive weakness yet, makes him a player you have to beat. If he nails the next steps, he’s got Grand Slam seed written all over him, and beyond.”
Nakashima abhors unforced errors, and his stingy approach to his game could prove troublesome for Zverev, who sometimes struggles when forced to be the aggressor. If Zverev and his team don’t do their homework, or take the teenager lightly, he could be in for a rude awakening.
Nakashima has undoubtedly seen Zverev play dozens of times, while the world No. 223 probably hasn’t crossed Zverev’s radar before. In addition, Nakashima has only played four ATP level matches, so finding enough useable footage to study could prove challenging.
Both players own flawless two-handed backhands, and much prefer that wing to their forehand. Zverev’s cleanliness and power from the ground should prove too much for Nakashima, and Zverev’s best-of-five familiarity should also help, but by no means expect a blowout.
The Pick: Alexander Zverev