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Zverev loses his opening round robin match for the first time in four Nitto ATP Finals appearances.

Zverev Hits Reset After Medvedev Loss: ‘Now I Can't Afford To Lose’

German falls in opening match of Group Tokyo 1970

For the second time in as many weeks, Alexander Zverev came up just short against a zoned-in Daniil Medvedev as he fell in straight sets in his opening match at the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals.

The top-ranked German had reached his first Grand Slam final at the US Open and won back-to-back titles in Cologne before Medvedev sent him crashing back to earth in the Rolex Paris Masters final. Back then, the Russian player came from a set down to snap Zverev’s 12-match winning run.

But in their first match at The O2, Medvedev only needed two sets to defeat Zverev in a match that was anything but straightforward: After weathering a battle of attrition in a nearly hour-long first set, Medvedev pulled off a successful underarm serve as he led in the second set. 

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“My serve was not quite there today,” Zverev assessed, having tallied seven double faults on Monday. “All in all, it wasn't a good match for me. I think since the restart of the season, it was one of the worst ones.

“Credit to Daniil. He did what he needed to do. I mean, the underarm serve paid off for him. Great job to him… I think maybe he was a little bit nervous in the beginning, but then he picked up his level.

“But, yeah, it was not good enough to beat a Top 10 player today from my side.”

The 2018 champion acknowledged that he now has his work cut out for him in Group Tokyo 1970 after losing his opening round robin match for the first time in four Nitto ATP Finals appearances. 

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He was sure to keep an eye on the group’s earlier singles match, which saw World No. 1 Novak Djokovic secure a comfortable straight sets win over Diego Schwartzman as he began his quest for a record-equalling sixth season-ending crown. 

“I mean, Novak was Novak. He dominates,” Zverev said. “But I need to look at myself. I need to play better. I need to be better on court. Because if I play like today, I'm not going to win any matches here this week.

“Now I can't afford to lose. I need to beat Diego, I need to beat Djokovic to have a chance to go to the semi-finals. I'm going to try to do that. But with how I played today, it's going to be difficult to do.”