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Zverev Wins Biggest Title Of Career In Rome
Zverev

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Alexander Zverev was competing in his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final on Sunday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, but he handled the occasion like it was a familiar feeling. The 16th seed captured the biggest title of his career with a brilliant display of tennis to defeat second seed Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3.

“I'm very happy with the way I played and my performance all week, I think today was one of the best matches I ever played,” said Zverev. “I knew I had to be aggressive from the first point to the last. It was very important for me to be able to stay this aggressive and not let him take over the game.”

Zverev was given the winner’s trophy by Rod Laver in the on-court trophy presentation. The 20 year old becomes the youngest winner in Rome since a 19-year-old Rafael Nadal prevailed in 2006 and the youngest Masters 1000 winner since a 19-year-old Djokovic won Miami in 2007.

He is also the first player born in the 1990s to win a Masters 1000 title. Zverev also created a moment for German tennis history by becoming the first German to win a Masters 1000 title since Tommy Haas (Stuttgart-indoor) in 2001 and only the fourth overall, joining Boris Becker and Michael Stich in the rarified air.

The milestone title will push the #NextGenATP star inside the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time when the new standings are released on Monday. He will move up to No. 10, up from his previous career-high of No. 17.

MAKING GERMAN TENNIS HISTORY: Zverev becomes the sixth German to break into the Top 10.

Player

First Top 10 Ranking

Career-High Ranking

BECKER, Boris

8 (July 8, 1985)

1 (January 28, 1991)

STICH, Michael

9 (June 10, 1991)

2 (November 22, 1993)

HAAS, Tommy

10 (September 13, 1999)

2 (May 13, 2002)

KIEFER, Nicolas

8 (October 18, 1999)

4 (January 10, 2000)

SCHUETTLER, Rainer

8 (June 9, 2003)

5 (April 26, 2004)

ZVEREV, Alexander

10 (May 22, 2017)

10 (May 22, 2017)

Zverev will move to fourth in the Emirates ATP Race to London as he seeks to make his first trip to the season-ending ATP Finals. He also extends his lead in the Emirates ATP Race to Milan, which determines who will qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan from 7-11 November. Zverev has accumulated 2,130 race points, more than triple that of all his peers in contention.

Djokovic, appearing in his fourth consecutive Rome final, drops to 4-4 on the final Sunday at this event and 30-13 in Masters 1000 finals. He was seeking his first Masters 1000 title since last July at the Rogers Cup (d. Nishikori) and first ATP World Tour title since his opening event of the season in Doha (d. Murray).

“He served very well. I just wasn't able to get any rhythm on my returns. If we would get into a rally, he would smash the ball from the first or second shot,” said Djokovic. “There is no doubt he took time away from me. It happens. If he serves this well and this efficiently, it's tough to play him on any surface.”

Zverev picks up 1,000 Emirates ATP Rankings points and a hefty cheque for €820,035. Djokovic earns 600 Emirates ATP Rankings points and a cheque for €402,080.

Showing no fear in their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting, Zverev struck an aggressive forehand return to break Djokovic in the opening game of the match. The most impressive aspect of Zverev’s game in the match was his serve. Landing 71 per cent of his first serves in the match, he dropped only nine points (36/45) and didn’t allow Djokovic any break point chances. The young German remained composed while serving out the set at 5-4, firing two aces en route to taking the early advantage.

Djokovic’s backhand, which set up numerous free points in his semi-final win over Dominic Thiem, continued to be neutralised by Zverev in the second set. The Serbian hit only two winners off that wing in the match.

MASTERS 1000 BREAKTHROUGHS: Zverev joins Croatian Marin Cilic as the only two players who have celebrated their first Masters 1000 titles during the past 14 months.

2017 Rome Alexander Zverev d. Djokovic

2016 Cincinnati Marin Cilic d. Murray

2017 Madrid Dominic Thiem l. to Nadal

2016 Toronto Kei Nishikori l. to Djokovic

2017 Monte-Carlo Albert Ramos-Vinolas l. to Nadal

2016 Monte-Carlo Gael Monfils l. to Nadal

2016 Paris John Isner l. to Murray

2016 Miami Kei Nishikori l. to Djokovic

2016 Shanghai Roberto Bautista Agut l. to Murray

2016 Indian Wells Milos Raonic l. to Djokovic

A forehand error from Djokovic gave Zverev an early break to lead 2-1 in the second set. Zverev continued to rain down heavy serves and hold comfortably, putting pressure on Djokovic to produce something extra from the baseline.

The second seed hit a double fault to set up match point and the German raised his arms in triumph after Djokovic sent a backhand long to end the match in one hour and 21 minutes. Djokovic finished the day with 11 winners and 27 unforced errors, while Zverev hit 16 winners and 14 unforced errors.

Fewest Attempts To Reach First Masters 1000 Final

Richard Gasquet

7

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

8

Rafael Nadal

9

Novak Djokovic

10

Tomas Berdych

11

Alexander Zverev

16

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  • 2017
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