Inspiring memories of recent defeats of Rafael Nadal spurred Alexander Zverev into the semi-finals of the Madrid Masters on Friday.
The fifth seed eliminated Spain’s five-time champion 6-4, 6-4 with the German winner bursting with fresh confidence.
“It helped that I’ve beaten him the last few times we’ve played (Paris Bercy event last November and the 2019 ATP Finals in London),” he said.
“Of course, those were on on hard court, which is very different.
“To beat Rafa on a clay court in Spain, you have to play your best. I’m extremely happy to have done that.
“We’ll see what the next few matches.”
Zverev will next face Dominic Thiem in a Saturday semi-final with the Austrian standing 8-2 in their series.
“It’s not going to get easier, Dominic is also a great player. I’ve got to respect that.
“I’ve got to respect the fights that we’ve had in the past few matches, hopefully be able to go to another Madrid final.”