An inspired Alexander Zverev on Sunday beat world No.1 Novak Djokovic 6-4 6-3 to win the ATP Finals, the biggest title of the German’s fledgling career.
The 21-year-old broke serve once in the opening set and three times in the second to pull off a shock victory in a packed 02 Arena, denying the Serb a record-equalling sixth title at the ATP’s blue-riband event.
Djokovic was a firm favourite having looked unbeatable all week, not dropping a set or even a service game, but 24 hours after being booed following a semifinal win over Roger Federer, Zverev had the crowd drooling over an audacious display.
"I appreciate you letting me win one today"
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) November 18, 2018
Zverev is the first German to win the title since Boris Becker in Frankfurt in 1995 and the youngest since Djokovic won at the same age in Shanghai in 2008.
He is also the first player to ever beat both Djokovic and Federer at the same edition of the ATP Finals, and first to beat the top two seeds in the semifinals and finals of the event since Andre Agassi did so in 1990.
|ATP Finals||ATP Finals (2018)|
|Masters 1000||Madrid (2018); Rome, Montreal (2017)|
|500||Washington DC (2018, 2017)|
|250||Munich (2018, 2017); Montpellier (2017); St Petersburg (2016)|
“I really can’t describe it. It’s the biggest title I’ve won in my career,” said Zverev.
“Novak has been incredible and he’s barely lost a match but I’m glad you lost one to me today.”
Djokovic had beaten Zverev comfortably in the round-robin phase on Wednesday, but he looked edgy.
At 4-4 in the opener, a couple of poor Djokovic forehands gave Zverev the chance to serve for the set and he sealed it, thanks to three consecutive aces.
An increasingly ragged Djokovic then dropped his opening two service games of the second set, either side of breaking Zverev for the first time.
With victory looming, world No.5 Zverev showed no sign of nerves and clinched the title when he sent a backhand winner past a stunned Djokovic to claim the win in one hour 20 minutes.
He collapsed on to his back before Djokovic sportingly walked around to the other side to congratulate him.
Earlier, American pair Mike Bryan and Jack Sock saved a match point in the deciding tiebreaker to beat Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 5-7 6-1 [13-11] for their first ATP Finals doubles title together.
Having failed to take advantage of five championship points during the first-to-10 match tiebreaker, Bryan and Sock then had to save one against their French opponents before finally closing out victory.
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