Alexander Zverev sets up Italian Open clash with Rafael Nadal

Alexander Zverev gives thumbs up

Alexander Zverev remains on course to retain his Italian Open crown after reaching the final with a two-set win over Marin Cilic.

The defending champion edged two tight sets against Cilic in the semi-final, winning 7-6, (15-13), 7-5 in just over two hours to set up a final date against seven-time Rome winner Rafael Nadal.

There were no breaks of serve in the first set while the Croat broke in the opening game of the second set before Zverev hit back in game eight while the decisive break came in game 13.

“It was very tough. It’s always tough playing Marin. He’s one of the best players on Tour right now,” Zverev told “He knows what it takes to win the big matches in the big moments so I had to play my best to get the win today.”

The German is looking for a hat-trick of titles after winning the BMW Open in Munich a fortnight ago and the Madrid Open last week.