Zverev Beats Djokovic For Rome Title
Alexander Zverev has won the biggest match of his life, dismissing World No. 2 Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 during the Internazionali BNL d'Italia final in Rome. The #NextGenATP star wins his maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title during his first try, and the 20-year-old simply outplayed Djokovic, a 30-time Masters 1000 titlist, controlling play from the back of the court with his fluid two-handed backhand and heavy forehand.
Zverev becomes the youngest Masters 1000 titlist since a 19-year-old Djokovic won the 2007 Miami Open presented by Itau. He will break into the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings as well, jumping from No. 17 to No. 10 when the new rankings are released on Monday.
Here is how the #NextGenATP German kept Djokovic from winning a record 31st Masters 1000 crown:
ZVEREV TAKES FIRST SET 6-4
Zverev, playing in his first Masters 1000 final, jumped on top from the start, breaking Djokovic in the first game. The Serbian missed all five first serves that game, and, at 15/40, Zverev pounced on a second serve, smashing a forehand cross-court that Djokovic netted. The #NextGenATP German solidified the break with ease, acing Djokovic for the first time for a 2-0 lead.
Djokovic eventually settled in as well, mixing in drop shots against the 6'6” Zverev to hold for 2-3. At times, the set was a battle of world-class backhands: Djokovic's two-hander, which typically dominates that contest, against Zverev's two-hander, which also might be one of the best on the ATP World Tour. In their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting, both players looked for ways to keep the other off balance.
But Zverev's serve was ultimately the difference in the first set against Djokovic, who couldn't find a way to break the #NextGenATP star. Zverev landed almost 75 per cent of his first serves, and sealed the opener with a service winner out wide on the deuce court. The Hamburg native won 20/26 points on serve.
ZVEREV WINS THE ROME TITLE 6-4, 6-3
If Zverev was surprised by his play in the first set, he didn't show it in the beginning of the second set. The German stuck to his successful tactics, again seeking to tee off on Djokovic's serve and push the Serbian behind the baseline to start the point. With Djokovic serving at 30/30, 1-1, Zverev stepped into the court and blasted an inside-out backhand winner to see his first break point of the set.
The next point, after an aggressive return from Zverev, Djokovic netted a tentative forehand into the net, and the 20 year old had another early break at 2-1.
Djokovic found success in moving Zverev from side to side in the back of the court, but after eight service games, the Serbian had still not seen a break point. He had to fight to hold his serve as well, erasing another break point at 2-4.
The next game, meanwhile, as Djokovic grew more frustrated, Zverev swelled with confidence, holding to love with a forehand winner. The German would finish with 16 winners, compared to 14 unforced errors, for the match.
He'd end the contest with his third break of the final. Djokovic double faulted to give Zverev a match point, and the Serbian lifted a backhand long as Zverev prepared to celebrate the biggest win of his life.