Alexander Zverev

Alexander Zverev Shocks Novak Djokovic To Win ATP Finals In London

Alexander Zverev became the youngest champion ever at the year-end ATP Finals in a decade with his comprehensive upset of world No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 in the final.

The title marked the biggest career win for the 21-year-old German, who began working with tennis legend Ivan Lendl in late August.

Zverev became the youngest player to win at the ATP’s season finale since Djokovic in 2008. He was the first German to win the title since Boris Becker in 1995.

“This is the biggest title of my career so far. This trophy means a lot, everything, to all the players. I mean, you only have so many chances of winning it. You play against the best players only,” Zverev said. “How I played today, how I won it, for me it’s just amazing.”

One year ago, Zverev made his debut at elite eight-player event in London, falling short of reaching the semifinals. The 10-time ATP tournament title champion beat six-time champion Roger Federer in straight sets on Saturday in the semifinals. It’s the first time a player has beaten both Djokovic and Federer at the same Nitto ATP Finals. Zverev’s the first player to beat the Top 2 seeds in the semifinals and final of the event since Andre Agassi in 1990.

“It’s quite astonishing, winning this title, beating two such players back-to-back, Roger and Novak, in semi-finals and final,” Zverev said. “It means so much. I’m incredibly happy and incredibly proud of this moment right now.”

Rafael Nadal, Now Proven To Be Human On Clay, Seeks Redemption In Rome

So Rafael Nadal is human on clay!

One week after the “King of Clay” showed vulnerability in his quarterfinal loss to Dominic Thiem at the Madrid Open, Nadal will look to regain his winning ways in Rome at the Italian Championships. Nadal has won in Rome seven times, less than his 11 titles each in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and his 10 titles at Roland Garros, but, by any other normal professional standards, is amazing.

Against Thiem in Madrid, Nadal had his 21-match and 50-set clay-court winning streaks come to an end. To boot, he fell from the top ranking by not winning the title, surrendering the top spot to Roger Federer. However, Nadal is still 14-1 in matches and 30-2 in sets on clay this year. He will return the No. 1 ranking on 21 May if he captures his the title at the Foro Italico. While Nadal has won a record seven times in Rome, he has not won there since 2013. He lost in the quarterfinals in 2015, 2016 and 2017 after falling to Djokovic in the 2014 final. Rome is the only clay-court event where Nadal has made four consecutive appearances without a title.

Nadal faces the strongest ATP World Tour field of the season with 18 of the Top 20 players vying for the title. Four-time champion Novak Djokovic and defending champion Alexander Zverev are former champs in the field. Djokovic continues to struggle this year and is only 6-6 in 2018 and seeking his first quarterfinal of the season as he continues his comeback from a right elbow injury. The former world No. 1 is responsible for 19% of Nadal’s losses on clay, earning three of seven clay-court victories over his Spanish rival in Rome.

Zverev, the world No. 3, won ATP Masters 1000 titles last year in Rome and Montreal and is coming in on a high after defeating Thiem in the final of Madrid. Zverev’s serve, in particular, was impressive in Madrid, not losing serve and barely losing points on his deliveries. If he can keep up that success in Rome – and avoid mental and physical fatigue – he will be a tough out.

Thiem beat Nadal in the quarterfinals of Rome last year and combined with his win over Nadal last week in Madrid – and two semifinal showings at the French Open – make him and Zverev the next two betting favorites in Rome – and in Paris – other than Nadal. With three wins over Nadal on clay in his career, Thiem is one of three men with three wins over Nadal on clay, joining Djokovic (7) and Gaston Gaudio (3).

World No. 6 Juan Martin del Potro is 22-5 in 2018, highlighted by his first ATP Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells, where he saved three championship points to defeat Federer. Despite his high credentials and South American upbringing on the clay in Argentina, del Potro has not reached a semifinal on a clay court since Madrid in 2012. Kevin Anderson, the world No. 8, and John Isner, the world No. 9, are at career-high rankings following impressive starts to their seasons. The 6-foot-8 Anderson, the 2017 US Open runner-up, reached his first ATP Masters 1000 semifinal last week in Madrid after winning his fourth ATP title in New York. The 6-foot-10 Isner defeated del Potro and Zverev to capture his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Miami.

Alexander Zverev and Elina Svitolina Win Canada Titles Heading Into US Open

Canada saw a glimpse of the bright future of men’s and women’s tennis on Sunday, as 20-year old German Alexander Zverev and 22-year old Ukrainian Elina Svitolina won their inaugural Rogers Cup titles.

 

Zverev took down Roger Federer, 6-3, 6-4, in Montreal, to become the youngest Rogers Cup men’s champion since Novak Djokovic in 2007. Zverev continued his peak summer hard-court form — he’s won 10 straight matches after winning the title in Washington, D.C., last week — to capture his second ATP Masters 1000 title of 2017 (Rome) and first at a US Open Series event. Zverev has now won five ATP titles in 2017, which is tied with Federer for the most on tour.

 

Svitolina beat Caroline Wozniacki, 6-4, 6-0, in Toronto to win her ninth career WTA title and her tour-leading fifth this year. Svitolina’s first victory at a US Open Series event was earned by defeating four straight Top 10-ranked players in Venus Williams, Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep and Wozniacki, and it will propel her to a career-high No. 4 in the world on Monday.

 

The US Open Series crescendos this week with the Western & Southern Open, as many of the top men’s and women’s players converge on Cincinnati. For the first time since 2009, Rafael Nadal and Federer will be the tournament’s No. 1 and No. 2 men’s seeds, respectively, and will battle each other to claim the No. 1 ranking. Cincinnati will also see a women’s field featuring every active player in the Top 20 (minus Serena Williams) and five different players battling to claim the No. 1 ranking.

 

ESPN2 picks up its coverage from Cincinnati on Thursday, beginning at 1 p.m., and will carry matches through Sunday’s finals, beginning with the women at 2 p.m. ET. Tennis Channel begins its weeklong coverage with Monday’s first round. See the full summer TV schedule here.

 

Fans can join the conversation by using hashtag #USOpenSeries and by following @usopen. Fans can share their experiences at US Open Series tournaments using hashtag #MyUSOpenSeries.

 

About the US Open Series

Now in its 14th season, the world’s best players on the WTA and ATP World Tour are coming together for the US Open Series. Linking seven summer WTA and ATP World Tour tournaments to the US Open, the US Open Series serves as a true “regular season” of hard court tennis.  Featuring a cohesive schedule, the Series centralizes the way tennis is viewed in North America, across multiple television and digital platforms. Fans will see today’s top champions go head-to-head with tomorrow’s emerging stars, as storylines develop throughout the summer season. Each tournament also engages its local community with a variety of outreach initiatives, including grass-roots youth tennis clinics and activities.

 

About the WTA

The WTA is the global leader in women’s professional sport with more than 2,500 players representing nearly 100 nations competing for a record $139 million in prize money. The 2017 WTA competitive season includes 55 events and four Grand Slams in 32 countries.

 

About the ATP World Tour

The ATP World Tour, with 63 tournaments in 31 countries, showcases the finest male athletes competing in the world’s most exciting venues. From Australia to Europe and the Americas to Asia, the stars of the 2017 ATP World Tour will battle for prestigious titles and Emirates ATP Rankings points at ATP World Tour Masters 1000, 500 and 250 events, as well as Grand Slams (non ATP events).

Rafael Nadal Fights Off Next Generation In Five-Set Australian Open Win Over Alexander Zverev

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

Rafael Nadal withstood the effort from young German star Alex Zverev in the third round of the Australian Open on Saturday, winning in five sets by a score of 4-6, 6-3, 6-7(5) 6-3, 6-2.

Nadal, the No. 9 seed in this year’s Australian Open, has been out to prove a message to the ATP World Tour early in the season as he already claimed an exhibition title in Abu Dhabi before reaching the quarterfinals in Brisbane. Now, the 14-time major champion has continued an impressive run to the fourth round in Melbourne after another tough win over Zverev.

“It’s obviously an important result for me. I lost the last couple of ones, matches in the fifth. So it’s important for me to win a match like this,” Nadal said.

The two met last year in Indian Wells, and the German blew an easy volley on match point before eventually squandering the loss to Nadal. That result surely would’ve given Zverev some extra motivation to get revenge on Nadal on Saturday, but in the end, the experienced veteran was just too good, but remained humble as always.

“Everyone knows how good Alexander is. He is the future of our sport, and the present too, now,” Nadal said.

Zverev, who hit 58 winners in the match, got off to a hot start, breaking Nadal in the first game of the match. After saving a break point three games later, Zverev was able to cruise through the rest of the set to jump out to an early lead.

It was Nadal who got off to the hot start in the second set, though, as he held his first two service games at love before breaking the 19-year old easily for a 3-1 lead. Nadal never looked back from that point, as he only dropped three points on serve in the second set to level the match.

Breaks continued to be scarce into the third set as neither man was able to create even a single break point in the set. Zverev was forced to play a 12-point service game early in the set, but other than that, neither player had much trouble on serve. The tiebreak was neck and neck, just like the rest of the set, but it was Zverev who created a set point at 6-5 and didn’t miss out on the opportunity, taking a two sets to one lead.

Being just one set away from the win, Zverev’s mind may have flashed back to Indian Wells last year when he missed out on a great opportunity to upset one of the greatest players of all time. In his first service game of the set, Zverev was broken, allowing Nadal to take an early break lead. Serving at 3-1, Nadal fought off one break point in a 12-point game before settling down in the latter stages of the set, closing it out and forcing a decider.

“Fighting and running a lot,” Nadal said when asked what the key was to his comeback. “I enjoyed a lot this great battle.”

While the fifth set score line will read 6-2 in favor of Nadal, the set was much tighter than you would expect. After Nadal broke in the first game, Zverev was able to break back and get back on serve at 2-2. Nadal did break in the next game, but not before the German fought off two break points in a 16-point game. Zverev’s next service game also resulted in a break, but once again he fought hard, saving two more break points, this time in an 18-point game.

“For the confidence, for lots of things, it’s very important to win these kinds of matches,” Nadal said. “I think I finished the match playing much better than what I started the match.”

Next up for Nadal will be the 6th-seeded Gael Monfils. The eclectic Frenchman has been very impressive in the Australian Open so far, only dropping one set in his first three matches.