Zverev Captures Olympic Gold In Tokyo
As far as Olympic debuts go, they don’t get much better than Alexander Zverev’s performance this week in Tokyo. The German captured the gold medal on Sunday, producing a dominant display to defeat the ROC’s Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-1 in 79 minutes at the Tokyo Olympics.
Zverev guaranteed himself at least a silver medal on Friday when he battled back from a set down to upset top seed Novak Djokovic to end the Serbian’s hopes of a historic Golden Grand Slam.
The fourth seed backed that performance up by serving well and hitting the ball with great power throughout Sunday’s final against Khachanov. The 24-year-old won 87 per cent (26/30) of his first-service points and fired 22 winners to become the first German man to win an Olympic singles gold medal in tennis.
“There is nothing better than this,” Zverev told ITFtennis.com. “You are not only playing for yourself, you are playing for your country, and the Olympics are the biggest sporting event in the world. The feeling I have now, and will have, nothing will be better."
In a lively start, Zverev broke early to move 3-1 ahead in the first set as he struck the ball with consistent depth, forcing Khachanov back behind the baseline. The World No. 5 played aggressive tennis, but also demonstrated his defensive skills as he chased down every ball to move ahead.
Zverev carried this momentum with him into the second set as he combined a mixture of power with good touch to cause Khachanov further problems. He produced a near-perfect set, committing just seven unforced errors to claim victory.
Khachanov overcame Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta on Friday to claim his spot in the gold medal match. The 25-year-old, who has enjoyed runs to the semi-finals at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon and the Great Ocean Road Open this year, leaves Tokyo with a silver medal.“He played from the beginning to the end an unbelievable match," Khachanov told ITFtennis.com. "I also played an outstanding match from my point of view, but he was just better today - all credit to him. I was dreaming of gold, but I’ll give it a try at the next Olympics."