Zverev Surprises Djokovic to Win Italian Open

by John on May 21, 2017

NextGen tennis star Alexander Zverev powered his way into the NowGen elite of men’s tennis Sunday afternoon. The 20-year-old German upset second seed Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 in the final of the Italian Open, winning his first Masters title and becoming the only player born in the 1990s to accomplish the feat so far. With the win, the 17th-ranked Zverev will catapult into the Top 10 when tomorrow’s new rankings come out. The 6-foot-6 German star will rise to No. 10 in the world. Djokovic, appearing in his fourth straight Italian Open final, dropped to 4-4 on the final Sunday in Rome. Zverev played with poise and aggression, putting the hammer down in his service games with huge serves and big forehands, and outdueling Djokovic in backhand to backhand exchanges. He took out Andy Murray conqueror Fabio Fognini in the third round, Milos Raonic in the quarterfinals and John Isner in the semis en route to the final. Djokovic hadn’t dropped a set until today, including a 6-1, 6-0 rout of Dominic Thiem in yesterday’s semifinal. Thiem had upset Rafael Nadal the day before. Zverev came out of the chutes with gusto, breaking Djokovic in the opening game with an aggressive forehand return. The break would hold up with the German hitting two aces in the 10th game to serve it out. Zverev hadn’t faced a break point yet and wouldn’t the rest of the day. Sascha broke in the third game of the second set and then again in the ninth when Djokovic sailed a backhand long to close out the match in one hour and 21 minutes. “I’m very happy with the way I played and my performance all week, I think today was one of the best matches I ever played,” Zverev said. “I knew I had to be aggressive from the first point to the last. It was very important for me to be able to stay this aggressive and not let him take over the game.” Zverev served seven aces and won 84 percent of his first serves and 69 percent of his second, while dropping just nine points on serve. Djokovic won 70 percent of his first deliveries, but just 38 percent of his second. Nole saved two of five break points. “He served very well. I just wasn’t able to get any rhythm on my returns,” Djokovic said. “If we would get into a rally, he would smash the ball from the first or second shot. There is no doubt he took time away from me. It happens. If he serves this well and this efficiently, it’s tough to play him on any surface.” Zverev finished the day with 16 winners and 14 unforced errors, while Djokovic hit 11 winners and committed 27 unforced errors.

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