Alexander Zverev has won the Madrid Open title with a comprehensive 6-4 6-4 victory over Dominic Thiem in just 78 minutes here at La Caja Majica.
It was a display of utter dominance and authority by the 20 year old, second seeded German who was once again invulnerable on serve. Having not dropped his delivery all week, he held serve from start to finish, breaking the Thiem serve at the start of each set.
The fifth seeded Austrian held a 4-1 record against Zverev coming into the match, which included a perfect 3-0 record on clay. However, the two had not played on clay since 2016, and back then Zverev had managed to win a set in each of the losing encounters, and he has grown exponentially in stature as a competitor since then. Thiem was searching for his first Masters 1000 title having lost in the final of Madrid last year to Rafael Nadal, and having put out the defending champion in the quarter-finals this year, he was fancied to win the title and become the first Austrian to win a Masters 1000 since the former world No.1 Thomas Muster won Miami in 1997.
The 24 year old Austrian held 9 career titles against Zverev’s 7, with an ATP ranking of 7 to Zverev’s ranking of 3.
Zverev now has three Masters 1000 titles having won his first Masters 1000 in Rome last year beating Novak Djokovic and following that up with a second in Montreal where he accounted for Roger Federer in the final. Although he unexpectedly faltered in the final of the Miami Open final against John Isner, he was not going to allow another to slip through his fingers in quick succession.
Thiem started the match nervously with two off forehands going well wide to go two break points down, after Zverev had stepped in and crunched a menacing forehand return winner up the line that must have had the Austrian shaking in his boots. A double fault handed the German an immediate break of serve, and the grateful Zverev never in turn offered so much as a sniff of a break point throughout the remainder of the set. He closed out the 32 minute set on his second set point with a roar of “Come on!” as Thiem’s mistimed forehand return off a short second serve sailed well long.
Thiem started the second set on serve just as tentatively as he had started the first, with unforced errors flowing from his racket after Zverev had opened up with a forehand cross court winner that clipped the side line. The German wasted no time in converting his break point opportunity when he ran around his backhand and thumped a ferocious forehand up the line which the scurrying Austrian at full stretch on his forehand wing was powerless to return. Zverev let out a scream of elation as the sight of a first trophy in the Spanish capital beckoned.
Although Thiem managed to push Zverev to deuce on his serve at 2-3 down, the German quickly battened down the hatches with a huge service winner up the centre and duly held for 4-2.
Thiem did well to force Zverev to serve out for the match when he came back from a 0-30 deficit with a backhand winner up the line and two consecutive aces which the swaggering German grudgingly conceded on inspection.
He would not be denied on serve however. He closed out for his first Madrid Open title with the kind of authority he has shown all week; setting up championship point with a delightful serve and forehand drop volley winner and sending a ball flying out of the Manolo Santana Stadium when he won championship point as Thiem’s attempted backhand chip return sailed long.
Thiem was magnanimous in defeat at the presentation ceremony, acknowledging his opponent as a worthy champion.
“Congratulations to Alex. You were very impressive and you were obviously the best player this week”, Thiem said. “Very well done and also to your team. You were great!”
“Losing a final is always really difficult and tough, but still I made two finals in a row here and so I obviously feel really comfortable and great in Madrid. Everybody who makes this tournament amazing, thank you for that.”
Zverev was quick to praise the titanic efforts of his vanquished opponent who had removed the biggest obstacle to his title aspirations.
“I want to congratulate Dominic on an amazing week. Beating Rafa (Nadal) in Spain on clay is an amazing achievement. Not many people have done that, so credit to you and also to your team. You guys are doing great. I’m very sure in the future you are going to win multiple of these events.”
“I want to thank my team as well. Without them nothing would be possible. We spend three hours a day in the gym trying to build some muscle which you still can’t see on me”, he said laughing. “But we are getting there slowly.”
“My dad is the most important person in my team. Making me grow up, not only on the court, but the man who I am today is a lot because of you and because of my brother who is already in Rome, and because of my mum who is at home right now. Everything I do on court, you are probably the biggest reason for it. Thanks a lot for that.”
Anett Kontaveit beats Petra Martic to reach the final in Palermo
World number 22 Anett Kontaveit from Estonia upset number 1 seed Petra Martic 6-2 6-4 to reach the final at the Ladies Open in Palermo.
Martic has scored her third win in her seven matches against top 20 players after beating Belinda Bencic and Elina Svitolina.
Kontaveit avenged her defeat against Martic in their only previous match played in Dubai last February before the lockdown.
Kontaveit had to fight to hold her serve in the first game of the opening set at deuce and took control of the match by breaking in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead.
Martic won only 56% on her first serve in the opening set. Kontaveit came back from 0-30 down to hold serve in the seventh game before breaking for the second time in the eighth game to win the first set 6-2.
Martic earned an early break in the first game of the second set at deuce, but Kontaveit broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. The Estonian player saved a break point before holding serve to take a 2-1 lead. Kontaveit saved five of the six break points she faced. Kontaveit broke for the second time in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Martic held serve at 2-5 down before breaking serve at 15 in the ninth game to claw her way back to 4-5. The Croatian player received a medical time-out before Kontaveit for the third time in the tenth game at love to close out the second set 6-4.
Kontaveit will chase her second title in tomorrow’s final three years after winning in S’Hertogenbosch in 2017.
“I felt like I played a very good match today. I was quite aggressive, consistent, and I served especially well in the first set. It got a bit close in the end, but I played a good game at 5-4 and I am happy to be in the final”, said Kontaveit.
Petra Martic comes back from one set down to beat Ludmila Samsonova in Palermo
Top seed Petra Martic from Croatia came back from one set down to beat qualifier and world number 117 Ludmila Samsonova 5-7 6-4 6-2.
Martic saved six break points in the 10th game of the opening set, but Samsonova converted her third break point in the 12th game to win the first set 7-5.
Martic earned an early break in the first game to open up a 2-0 lead. Samsonova broke back at love in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Martic broke for the second time in the ninth game to win the second set 6-4. The Croatian player broke twice in the third and seventh games to close out the third set 6-2.
Martic will face world number 50 Aliaksandra Sasnovich from Belarus in the quarter finals. Sasnovich came through the qualifying round before beating Jasmine Paolini in straight sets.
Former top 30 Camila Giorgi rallied from losing the first set to beat Slovenian teenager Kaja Juvan 3-6 6-2 6-4 after 2 hours reaching her second WTA quarter final of the season. Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 outbreak Giorgi reached the top 8 in Lyon. Juvan qualified for the Main Draw at the Australian Open and beat five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in three sets at the Abierto Mexicano in Acapulco.
Giorgi started with an early break at deuce at the start of the first set and opened a 2-0 lead. Juvan broke twice to take a 4-3 lead. Giorgi dropped serve for the third time after a double fault on the set point.
Giorgi came back from 1-2 down by winning five consecutive games with two consecutive breaks in the fifth and seventh games.
Giorgi broke twice to race out to a 3-0 lead at the start of the third set. Juvan pulled one break back at love in the fourth game but Giorgi got another break to race out to a 5-1 lead. Juvan broke at 30, when Giorgi was serving for the match at 5-2. The Italian player earned two match points and sealed the win on her second chance.
“I think I was more solid in playing my game. I was moving more forward, so it was much for me. At the start of the match, I was making too many tactical mistakes because I was trying to finish points for no reason. I started to adopt better tactics in the second set and that’s when things started working for me”, said Giorgi.
Number 4 seed Anett Kontaveit from Estonia came back from one set down to beat Laura Siegemund 3-6 6-2 6-2 after 2 hours and 20 minutes booking her spot in the quarter finals at the Palermo Ladies Open.
The Estonian player has reached her third quarter final this year after the Australian Open and Dubai.
Kontaveit set up a quarter final against Elisabetta Cocciaretto, who became the youngest Italian player to reach the quarter final of a tournament since Sara Errani in 2006.
“I am quite happy about the way I was handling close situations, playing the close games and turning the close games around. I thought I actually handled that sort of pressure, that I didn’t think I would be used to, quite well”, said Kontaveit.
Andrea Gaudenzi recognizes the contribution of the Italian Tennis Federation in staging the Internazionali d’Italia
ATP President and former Italian tennis player Andrea Gaudenzi spoke in an interview to Italian TV channel Supertennis about staging the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome before the French Open and recognised the contribution of the Italian tennis Federation (FIT) in staging the tournament in the Italian capital.
The Rome ATP Masters 1000 and WTA Premier 5 tournaments will be held from 20th to 27th September one week before the French Open (27th September to 11th October).
“We are grateful to everyone, holding an event this year is difficult from an organizational and financial point of view. We thank the Italian Federation and those who organize the Challengers. Italy is making a great contribution. I think the players are waiting for the BNL Internazionali d’Italia. The Foro Italico is among the most beautiful venues in the world. Rome is splendid in September”, said Gaudenzi.
During his tennis career Gaudenzi scored wins over Roger Federer in Rome 2002, Pete Sampras in the first round of the 2002 French Open, Jim Courier in the 1994 US Open, Goran Ivanisevic, Thomas Muster, Michael Stich and Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Gaudenzi claimed three ATP titles in Casablanca in 1998, St. Poelten and Bastad in 2002. He graduated in law at the Bologna University and obtained a MBA with Honours at IUM.
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