Alexander Zverev has become the youngest player in a decade to win the ATP Finals after blasting his way past world No.1 Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3, in the final.
An empathic 80-minute performance saw the world No.5 dispose of a player regarded as one of the most in-form currently on the tour. Djokovic appeared weary as the match progressed as he hemorrhaged 23 unforced errors. Something that proved too costly against Zverev, who won 79% of his first service points. A somewhat unexpected outcome considering the Next Gen star had 6/1 odds to win at the start of the day.
“Right now I can’t really describe it. I’m unbelievably happy, It’s the biggest title that I have ever won.” Zverev said during the presentation ceremony.
For the 18th time in the history of the tournament, two players were squaring off in the final after meeting in the round-robin stages. Unlike their encounter on Wednesday, which Djokovic won in straight sets, the latest clash saw an elevation in quality from the lower ranked player. Drawing cheers from the crowd at a full capacity O2 Arena.
Heading into the match Djokovic had been impeccable on his serve. Winning all 36 of his service games throughout the tournament. He looked on course to continue this trend against Zverev early on, but the resilient 21-year-old managed to secure the breakthrough that nobody else in the tournament had managed to do. Locked at 4-4 in the opening set, back-to-back forehand errors from the top seed gifted the German a break for 5-4.
Unlike yesterday’s incident with the crowd where he was surrounded by a hostile environment, a dose of Zverev mania burst out as he served for the opening set. Being spurred on by the cheers, the world No.5 raced to 40-0 before converting his second set point with the help of a Djokovic forehand going beyond the baseline.
Edging closer to being only the third player to defeat the Serbian since the Wimbledon championships, Zverev continued to produce some inspired play. A gut-busting 26-shot rally concluded with a thunderous forehand as he broke at the start of set number two. However, the momentum was short-lived as Djokovic broke back in the next game to revive his chances.
Despite the Blip, Zverev continued to be the more consistent and stronger of the two against his weary opponent. At times Djokovic appeared to be fatigued after some grueling points. Reminiscent of his straight-sets loss to Karen Khachanov at the Paris Masters earlier this month.
“You definitely played much better than you did during the group stages and you deserved to win,” Djokovic said to Zverev afterward. “Obviously well done. You’re still quite young, but you have already had an amazing career. I wish you all the best for the future.”
Continuing to weather the storm, Zverev overcame some shaky moments to claim one of the most prestigious wins of his young career. After seeing his first championship point come and go, he triumphed on his second in spectacular fashion. Hitting a stunning backhand down the line past Djokovic. Prompting him to collapse onto the ground in delight.
“We played twice this week and everybody knows how good of a player you are, but I want to mention how good of a person you are too. We’ve had so many talks. No only about tennis, but about other stuff. All different kind of subjects.” He said in tribute to Djokovic.
Zverev’s triumph occurs less than four months after he starting working alongside Ivan Lendl. A five-time winner of the event, who has also guided Andy Murray to the title.
“Ivan, thanks for joining the team. I think it’s working out for now and I hope that is going to continue like that.” He said to the former world No.1.
Zverev has become only the fourth player in history to defeat both Roger Federer and Djokovic in the semi-final and final of the same tournament. He exits the tournament with $2,509,000 in prize money and 1300 ranking points
The 2018 ATP Finals concludes with 14 out of 15 matches ending in straight sets.
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.
Anett Kontaveit beats Petra Martic to reach the final in Palermo
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