Zverev Downs Djere For Hometown Triumph In Hamburg

26-year-old lifts first trophy since 2021 Nitto ATP Finals
July 30, 2023
Hamburg European Open/Witters
Alexander Zverev en route to victory against Laslo Djere in the final of the Hamburg European Open. By ATP Staff

After 30 years, it was a hometown hero who ended the wait for a second German men’s singles champion at the Hamburg European Open.

Alexander Zverev delivered a high-class final display Sunday in the city of his birth to defeat Laslo Djere 7-5, 6-3 and lift his first title since the 2021 Nitto ATP Finals. The fourth seed produced some blistering hitting throughout the one-hour, 51-minute encounter to overwhelm Djere and become the fifth player this season to win a tour-level title without dropping a set.

“At the end of the day, this is my home, this is where I grew up, and this where I started playing tennis,” said Zverev, who was competing in his first ATP Tour final since May last year in Madrid. “It was incredible for me, incredibly emotional. I can’t describe it in words, I’m just super happy right now.”

The joy of Zverev’s win was amplified by the backdrop of his journey back from a serious ankle injury sustained during his 2022 Roland Garros semi-final with Rafael Nadal. Sunday’s title triumph was his first since he returned to competition at the start of 2023.

“It’s almost like a first [title] again,” said the 20-time tour-level champion Zverev. “It’s such a long time [since my previous title], 18 months, and I’m just super happy right now.”

Prior to Sunday, Michael Stich’s 1993 triumph was the only time a German had lifted the singles crown in Hamburg in the Open Era (since 1968). As it was, Zverev’s triumph wrapped a maiden clean sweep for the home nation at the ATP 500 event, after Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz lifted the doubles crown earlier on Sunday.

Zverev was clinical with his chances on return against the in-form Djere, who had dropped serve just three times en route to his first ATP Tour championship match of the season. The German frequently took heavy cuts at his opponent’s delivery as he converted three of his four break points to improve to 3-0 in his Lexus ATP Head2Head series with Djere.

“I think he was the much better player throughout the first set. I just kind of stuck with it and dug it out somehow,” reflected Zverev. “Credit to him, he’s one of the most respected guys on Tour, he’s doing all the right things. At the end, I’m just happy that it went the way it went.”

Winning his 20th tour-level title at home has also boosted Zverev’s hopes of qualifying for the 2023 Nitto ATP Finals. A two-time champion at the prestigious season finale, Zverev has risen three spots to ninth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin with his title run, although Taylor Fritz can reclaim ninth place with victory in the Atlanta Open final later on Sunday.

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