Everything You Need To Know About Novak Djokovic’s Clash With Zverev At The ATP Finals - UBITENNIS
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Everything You Need To Know About Novak Djokovic’s Clash With Zverev At The ATP Finals

Ubitennis’ ultimate guide to finals day at the 2018 ATP Finals in London.

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After 14 matches played at the season-ending finale, two players will lock horns for the chance to secure victory at the season-ending championships in London.

 

Novak Djokovic takes on Alexander Zverev in what will be their fourth meeting on the tour. The world No.1 has won 35 out of 37 matches since the start of the Wimbledon Championships and is 14-0 against top 10 opposition. Meanwhile, Zverev will be playing in his first final since the Washington Open and is targeting his first ever win over a world No.1 player.

Here is everything to know about Sunday’s clash.

The Head-to-head

For the 18th time in the history of the ATP Finals, two players will play each other in the final after squaring off in the round-robin stages. Djokovic leads their head-to-head 2-1, winning both of their meetings in 2018. Zverev’s only victory occurred on the clay at the 2017 Italian Open, where he won his maiden Masters title.

The two players are yet to play a match that has gone the full distance.

2018 ATP Finals Round-robin – Djokovic wins 6-4, 6-3

2018 Shanghai Masters – Djokovic wins 6-2, 6-1

2017 Italian Open – Zverev wins 6-4, 6-1

How have they performed so far this week?

Djokovic leads his rival in seven out of the 10 key areas concerning their performance in the first four matches played at The O2 Arena this week. Zverev’s strongest area has been his ace count, which is 42 compared to Djokovic’s 16. Even more interesting is that his break point conversion rate is higher at 50% (5/10), compared to 39% (12/31) for the top seed.

Summary of the first four matches

source – atpworldtour.com

What have they said about playing against each other?

Both men have been complementary to each other heading into the clash. Djokovic has described Zverev as an ‘established player’ that deserves to be among the world’s elite. The German is the first and so far the only member of the current Next Gen contingent to have featured in the season finale.

“I’m expecting quite a different matchup for us than what it was in the group stage. Even though the win in the group stage against him a few days ago can definitely serve as kind of maybe a mental advantage a little bit coming into the match.” He said.
“But Sascha, even though he’s a leader of the new generation, still kind of considered a young player, he’s an established player. He’s shown some great skill on the court the last couple of years. He’s shown why he deserves to be in the mix of the top players in the world.”

Since winning the Wimbledon title, the Serbian has only lost twice. Coincidentally they were to other rising stars on the tour. In Canada, he fell to Stefanos Tsitsipas before losing to Karen Khachanov in Paris.

“Novak right now is the best player in the world. It’s very tough to beat him. He’s barely lost a match in the last six months. He’s playing amazing tennis. You have to play your best game to even have a chance. I hope I’ll be able to do that.” Said Zverev.

Experience Vs Youth

At the age of 31, Djokovic could become the oldest champion in the history of the event. Surpassing the previous record of 30 years and three months that is held by Roger Federer. It is the seventh time the Serbian has contested the final of the year-end championships.

In contrast, 21-year-old Zverev is the youngest finalist since Juan Martin del Potro back in 2009. The Next Gen star is the only player in history, other than the Big Four, to have three or more Masters 1000 titles. He could become the youngest champion since 2008 when Djokovic triumphed at the same age.

Federer’s record under threat

Djokovic, who is yet to drop a set in the entire tournament, has the chance of becoming only the second player in history to win the ATP Finals for the sixth time. The world No.1 has previously triumphed in 2008, before dominating the event between 2012-2015.

At present, Djokovic is tied with Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras with most titles won at the event (5). He is also the only player to have ever won the event four years in a row.

Serbia Vs Germany

Zverev is the first player from his country to reach the championships match since Boris Becker back in 1996. Only two German players have previously won the title. Becker (1988, 1992 and 1995) and Michael Stitch (1993).

As for Djokovic, he is one of only two Serbian players to have ever contested the tournament (since the break-up of Yugoslavia). The other is Janko Tipsarevic (2011 and 2012).

What will they win?

In the final alone, the victor will be handed $1,280,000 in prize money and 500 ranking points. However, due to the fact Djokovic is yet to lose a match, his overall reward will be higher than Zverev’s.

  • A Djokovic win = $2,712,000 in prize money plus 1500 ranking points
  • A Zverev win = $2,509,000 in prize money plus 1300 ranking points

Regardless of who wins, it will have no impact on the overall ranking of both players.

The final will get underway on Sunday at 18:00 GMT.

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Jelena Ostapenko lifts her first title since 2017 in Luxembourg

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Jelena Ostapenko claimed her first title since 2017 after beating defending champion and number 2 seed Julia Goerges 6-4 6-1 in the final at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open.

 

Ostapenko made her come-back last week by reaching the final in Linz last week. This week she lifted her third career title and her first trophy since Linz in September 2017 in the same year when she won her maiden Grand Slam title at Roland Garros. Ostapenko has been working with former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli during the past two weeks. The work with the former French star is reaping its fruits, as Ostapenko has scored 9 wins in 10 matches in the past two tournaments.

In the Luxembourg final the Latvian player hit six aces and won 83 % of her first serve points. Ostapenko earned her first break point in the opening game of the match. Goerges hit an ace to save a break point before holding her serve. Both players held their serve until 4-4. Ostapenko earned a double break in the ninth game. Goerges saved the first chance with a serve. Ostapenko sealed her second opportunity to take a 5-4 lead, as Ostapenko hit a forehand long. Ostapenko earned three set points with her fifth ace. She converted her first chance, as her serve was returned wide by Goerges.

Goerges held at love in the first game of the second set. Ostapenko broke twice in a row to race out to a 5-1 lead. Goerges saved the first match point with a strong serve. Ostapenko earned her second match point, as Goerges made two unforced errors, and sealed the win when the German made her double fault.

“Of course it’s great to finish the season with winning a title. I enjoyed this week so much, and I think I played really well today. I just like to finish the year this way”, said Ostapenko.

 

 

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Belinda Bencic claims the fourth title of her career with a three-set win over Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova in Moscow

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Belinda Bencic claimed the fourth WTA Premier title of her career with a 3-6 6-1 6-1 win over Anastasya Pavlychenkova after 1 hour and 43 minutes in the final of the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

 

Number 3 seed Belinda Bencic clinched her second WTA Tour title of the 2019 season one day after securing her spot for the WTA Finals in Shenzhen by beating Kristina Mladenovic in the semifinal. Last February the Swiss player lifted the trophy in Dubai.

Bencic beat Pavlyuchenkova for the fourth time in their five head-to-head matches.

In the first set Pavlyuchenkova saved two break points before earning an early break in the opening game. The Russian player closed out the first set with another break at 5-3 after a double fault from Bencic.

Bencic bounced back by getting an early break at the start of the second set. The Swiss player went up a double break to race out to a 5-1 lead forcing the match to the third set.

Bencic cruised through to a 5-0 lead with two consecutive breaks in the second and fourth games and closed out the third set 6-1 with a service winner in the seventh game.

Bencic was not initially entered in the WTA Premier tournament in Moscow and received a wildcard. During this week Bencic beat Polona Hercog and three former top 20 players Kirsten Flipkens, Kristina Mladenovic and Anastasya Pavlyuchenova

“It feels unbelievable right now. I still can’t imagine. I had no pressure going into the match. We were so happy yesterday, celebrating Shenzhen and this is the cherry on the top. This will take a special place in my heart, because here I qualified for the WTA Finals”, said Bencic.

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Andrey Rublev lifts his first title in Moscow on his 22nd birthday

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Local star Andrey Rublev cruised past Adrian Mannarino 6-4 6-0 in the final of the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow on his 22nd birthday in his home city.

 

Rublev claimed the second title of his career becoming the ninth Russian player to win the Moscow title in the history of this tournament. Before this year’s edition he had not won a match in his six previous attempts at the Moscow tournament

He will move up to the top 25 in the ATP Ranking for the first time in his career after a successful second half of the season in which he won 19 of his past 25 matches. The highlights of his season include the final in Hamburg, the quarter finals in Cincinnati (where he lost to Danil Medvedev), Winston Salem and St. Petersburg, the fourth round at the US Open (where he lost by semifinalist Matteo Berrettini) and the third round in Shanghai.

Rublev earned his first break in the first game after drawing a forehand error from Mannarino. The 22-year-old home player held on his next service games to claim the first set 6-4.

Rublev dropped just three points and broke serve three times in a one-sided second set. He earned three championhips points. Mannarino, who had not lost a set this week, saved the first two match points, but Rublev converted his third chance after 63 minutes.

 “I am at a loss. I can’t find the right words for what it means to me to win here. I grew up with this tournament. I spent my childhood at the VTB Kremlin Cup. I will remember this tournament and this win for many years, and I will hopefully be playing this tournament for many years down the road”, said Andrey Rublev.

Rublev has no time to rest on his laurels, as he will play against Felix Auger Aliassime in his opening match at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna next week.

Mannarino has continued his good period of form in the second half of the season in which he won the title at s’Hertogenbosh and reached the final in Zhuhai.

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