Shandong went ahead in the 19th minute when striker Duan Liuyu miss-kicked the ball which flew into Graziano Pelle's way, and the Italian swept it in from close range.
Zverev, 23, was in top form in the first set as he displayed an impressive serve and volley game to triumph 6-2 in just 30 minutes.
Nuremberg were unable to gain a foothold in the clash while the visitors from Leipzig dominated possession and kept Mathenia busy. However, neither Dani Olmo nor Christopher Nkunku extended the lead despite promising chances.
He returned to Fortaleza almost immediately, leading the side to ninth in the 20-team Serie A standings in 2019. They are 10th in the current table, only eight points behind leaders Internacional, more than a quarter of the way through the season.
The third seeds were forced into a final-set tiebreak, where they saved a match point, before overcoming Muhammad and Townsend in a tremendous tussle 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (9-7) and booked their ticket to the final.
After the 10th round, Wuhan Zall slipped to the fourth position in Group B on goal difference, while Shijiazhuang Ever Bright moved to the third with 16 points. Enditem
Chang'an Athletic is in Group B with Meizhou Kejia, Guizhou Hengfeng, Zhejiang Greentown, Liaoning Shenyang and Jiangxi Liansheng. All the Group B matches will be played in Meizhou, Guangdong province.
The tournament, attracting more than 800 primary and secondary school students, will last for about half a month and roll out more than 90 matches. It is the first sports competition for the school students of Guiyang this year.
The reigning champions had 25 points after 10 matches and sealed a spot in the second stage.
Xiralijan, 29, is widely regarded as one of the greatest outside shooters in the CBA. Enditem
When the safety car pulled in on lap 7, Valtteri Bottas, who had overtaken teammate Hamilton to lead after the first start, unusually elected to bunch the pack up until after he had crossed the start-finish line.