Evaluating The London Hopefuls: Kevin Anderson And Alexander Zverev - UBITENNIS
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Evaluating The London Hopefuls: Kevin Anderson And Alexander Zverev

In the penultimate part of this series we evaluate the seasons of Kevin Anderson and Alexander Zverev



Kevin Anderson (zimbio.com)

In the penultimate part of our four-part series we evaluate the seasons of Kevin Anderson and Alexander Zverev as the ATP World Tour Finals is just two days away. 


Kevin Anderson

The South American will be making his ATP World Tour Finals debut at 33 years old after an incredible season which saw him reach his second grand slam final. In his first tournament of the season he reached the final of Pune before suffering a surprise first round exit at the Australian Open. I guess his opponent, Kyle Edmund, didn’t have a bad season though, did he?

After the Melbourne disappointment he managed to reach the quarter-finals or better in every tournament up until the clay court season. That run included a title at the 250 event in New York and a final in Acapulco, losing to Juan Martin Del Potro.

On the clay he made a Masters 1000 breakthrough by reaching his first semi-final at that level in eleven attempts, when he reached the last four in Madrid. A second week performance in Roland Garros was satisfactory after eventually losing in the fourth round to Diego Schwartzman from two sets up.

Reverse fortunes saw an epic two set comeback against Roger Federer in the Wimbledon quarter-finals as he reached his second grand slam final in London. That was before losing to Novak Djokovic in the final in straight sets.

Another Masters 1000 semi-final in Toronto followed, losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas in an epic, as he reached the fourth round of the US Open. He ended his season with a Vienna title, his second of the season to seal a brilliant 2018.

STAT: Out of the ATP Finals contenders, Kevin Anderson has only lost to Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem, in-which he has an 0-4 combined record against in 2018. 

The South African will be looking to change that stat, when he faces Dominic Thiem in the first singles match of the ATP Finals on Sunday.

Anderson’s Best Five Tournaments

Wimbledon Final – 1,200 pts

Vienna Champion – 500 pts

Madrid Semi-Finals – 360 pts

Toronto Semi-Finals – 360 pts

Acapulco Final – 300 pts

Alexander Zverev

Alexander Zverev (via Zimbio.com)

The 21 year-old German has once again reached the ATP Finals after winning three titles and reaching his first grand slam quarter-final. It was a disappointing start to the season for Zverev having lost another five set match at a slam, this time to Hyeon Chung, in the third round of the Australian Open.

After a slow start, a semi-final in Acapulco and a final in Miami finally lifted his season as he had something to build on heading into the clay court season.

The world number five then went on a 13 match winning streak on the clay which included defending his title in Munich as well as winning his third masters 1000 title in Madrid this year. He almost did the Madrid-Rome double before the rain prevented him from making him significant progress against Rafael Nadal in the Rome final.

A grand slam breakthrough was made at Roland Garros as he won three five set matches in a row en route to reaching his first quarter-final at grand slam level. That was before his body failed him against Dominic Thiem in the last eight.

After illness prevented any grass court progress, Zverev competed in an up and down American hard court swing. A third title of 2018 in Washington was followed by a disappointing US Open campaign. A semi-final in two of his last three tournaments sealed his place in London, with the German hopeful for more progress under Ivan Lendl.

Serving The Key To Defeating Cilic

Surprisingly, the German has a 5-1 head-to-head record against the Croatian and one reason why is his success down the tee and out-wide when serving. As the stats show below the German’s serve is too hot to handle for Cilic as the Croatian can not make deep enough returns to cause any trouble.

(via ATPWorldTour.com)

The German will look to use this when he plays Cilic on Monday afternoon in his first ATP Finals match.

Zverev’s Best Five Tournaments

Madrid Champion – 1,000 pts

Miami Final – 600 pts

Rome Final – 600 pts

Washington Champion – 500 pts

Roland Garros quarter-finals – 360 pts


Zhizhen Zhang Handles Home Pressure As Murray Exits Shanghai

Zhizhen Zhang is into the second round of his home tournament while Andy Murray exited Shanghai in the opening round.



(@TheTennisLetter - Twitter)

Zhizhen Zhang managed to handle home expectation as he defeated Richard Gasquet 6-1 6-2 in his opening match in Shanghai.


Zhang had never managed a win in Shanghai before the victory over the Frenchman as he produced a confident performance to seal a place in the second round.

Although the scoreline looks easy Zhang has to manage high expectations from his home crowd and responded with 27 winners.

The 26 year-old has achieved a record-breaking season as he reached a career-high ranking of 52 in the world and now looks to end the season strong.

Speaking after his ground-breaking win in Shanghai, Zhang admitted that the pressure nearly got to him, “I was very nervous before the match because I had never had a success in Shanghai,” Zhang told the ATP website.

“Finally, in 2023, I got a first win, so I’m super happy about it. It is more pressure, because more people are following me and more people have eyes on me, but I’m happy like this. It’s better than no one seeing you… The fans are super great, as well as my friends and family, so I appreciate them coming [to support me].”

Next up for Zhang it will be 28th seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry as the Chinese player looks to continue his momentum from this season.

However there was very little positives for Andy Murray as he was defeated 6-3 6-2 by the in-form Roman Safiullin.

Murray exits the Asian swing with a 1-4 record as he returns to Europe in order to search for more positives ahead of the end of the season.

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‘Super happy’ Holger Rune Reacts To Winning First Match Since Wimbledon In Beijing



Holger Rune says he is pain-free and has gained confidence since reuniting with his former coach after ending his seven-match losing streak at the China Open. 


Rune, who is the third seed in Beijing this week, beat former top 10 player Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 6-4, in his opening match on Friday. The Dane fired 15 winners compared to only three unforced errors during the 85-minute encounter. It is the first time he has won a match on the Tour since Wimbledon in July.

“It feels very good. I had a tough period both with my body and with matches,” said Rune. “I’m happy to be back feeling good and feeling mentally well off the court. I’m super happy with my level today.”

The 20-year-old is experiencing a roller-coaster season where he reached the final of two Masters 1000 events and won a title in Germany during the first six months. However, recently he has struggled for wins on the Tour and ended his collaboration with Patrick Mouratoglou. 

On top of that, Rune has also been hampered by a back injury which he recently underwent treatment on before coming to China. He previously told Danish TV that he had a pinched nerve in the fifth lumbar vertebra in his spine since the clay-court season. As a result, he has had to make adjustments to his service motion to overcome this problem. 

“I didn’t feel any pain in my body,” he stated following his latest match. 
“I’m feeling healthy and taking care of my body. Mostly I’m happy to play without pain and enjoy myself.”

Guiding the world No.4 now is Lars Christensen who he has previously worked with since childhood. 

“It has helped my confidence. After some tough periods, he knows me so well,” Rune commented. “He knows when I’m back at my best level so it is easy for us to communicate and find the best version of Holger. That we did today.”

Rune will next play Grigor Dimitrov who staged an epic comeback to defeat Mackenzie McDonald. The Bulgarian was a set and 5-2 down before fighting back to prevail 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-1, over the American who was experiencing problems with his shoulder. 

Medvedev, Sinner though in contrasting matches

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In other matches at the tournament, second seed Daniil Medvedev stormed to a 6-2, 6-1, win over Tommy Paul. He has now recorded 39 hardcourt wins on the Tour so far this season which is more than any other player. 

“It’s not easy for both of us. Both of us a little jet lagged. Him maybe more, coming from Vancouver,” Medvedev said afterward. “Maybe that made the difference, but if I think only about myself, I’m happy with my level. 
“I played great. The start of the match was not easy, but it’s never easy first round, especially in another part of the world. Then I was playing better and better during the match, so I’m happy about my level.”

This week is the first time Medvedev has played since losing to Novak Djokovic in the US Open final. He is seeking to win his fifth title of 2023. 

Also through to the next round is Italy’s Jannik Sinner who struggled at times with his fitness during his troublesome 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-3, win over Dan Evans. The world No.7 served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but failed to capitalize on the opportunity, lost a 3-0 lead in the decider and then started limping on the court. During the closing stages, he also fell when trying to return a ball and appeared to hurt himself. Despite all the drama, Sinner still managed to seal the win. 

Sinner is now 16-1 in opening matches this season. He is bidding to reach his 12th tournament quarter-final in Beijing. 

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Roger Federer Targets Djokovic And Alcaraz For Laver Cup 2024 After Team World Thrashes Europe



Image via https://twitter.com/LaverCup/

Roger Federer says he would love to see the two highest-ranked players on the men’s Tour play in the next Laver Cup after this year’s tie ended in a crushing defeat for Europe. 


Team World, which is captained by John McEnroe, dominated the clash in Vancouver after surging to a 10-2 lead heading into the final day of competition. On Sunday they were required to win only one match to claim the overall title which they did in the opening doubles match. Ben Shelton and Frances Tiafoe ousted the European duo of Andrey Rublev and Hubert hurkacz 7-6(4), 7-6(5). 

“I am proud of these guys. We brought together a great group of some youth and experience, guys that have been here before. Everybody played well,” McEnroe said of his team’s 13-2 victory.
“It was an awesome week. We kicked some ass.”
“Winning is a whole lot better than losing. We struggled the first couple of years, and now we have tasted winning and it feels good.”

In contrast, Europe didn’t have much joy at the event with their only victory being from Casper Ruud who defeated Tommy Paul on the second day of the tie. Since the start of the competition in 2017, Europe won four consecutive titles but 2023 is the second year in a row that they have been defeated. 

Hoping that this losing streak will come to an end next year when the event is held in Berlin, Federer says he wishes Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz will play. Djokovic has played in the Laver Cup twice before but Alcaraz is yet to make his debut.

“They destroyed Team Europe. Team World played fantastic, they really brought the energy. Everybody brought a point, they were stronger in the doubles. In the singles too, they were moving fast, they were ready to go. They thoroughly deserved victory,” said Federer.
“I would like to see Novak again, Alcaraz and Novak on the same team. Sascha Zverev would be great for the German market. Someone like [Holger] Rune, that really hurt Team Europe. Rune and [Stefanos] Tsitsipas pulling out. [Daniil] Medvedev would be great. I like watching [Andrey] Rublev, and maybe someone will come through,” he added.

Federer is a co-founder of the Laver Cup with his management company Team 8 partnering up with Tennis Australia and Jorge Paulo Lemann to create the event. In 2019 the team competition was awarded ATP Tour status with a spot on the official calendar and access to marketing facilities under an agreement. However, ranking points are not awarded to players. 

Due to the nature of the format, only one match was played on Sunday with fans not getting the chance of watching any singles. Something two-time French Open champion Ruud admits is a problem. 

“Two of the times that I have played was maybe in a way a little bit unfortunate with only one deciding doubles (match) on Sunday,” Ruud commented.
“The crowd didn’t get to see a singles (match) after or whatever. That’s not in my hands to decide what the format looks like.’
“But last year in London was great in many ways because you had so many great players and it came down to almost the last match. When I watched on TV the first series, it was so exciting because Roger played a couple of times, the final match of the Sunday and clutched it for Team Europe. It’s been a couple of years without playing that last singles match. But it’s a great initiative. Me, as a golf fan, watching the Ryder Cup all my life in my childhood, it’s great for tennis to have this event.”

The 2024 Laver Cup will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin between September 20-22. 

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