Zverev beats Cilic in Fi­nals de­but

Ger­man young start next to take on Swiss mae­stro Fed­erer

Global Times US Edition - - SPORTS -

A few hours af­ter old mas­ter Roger Fed­erer re­minded ev­ery­one of his en­dur­ing magic, Alexan­der Zverev, the man lead­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of men’s ten­nis, daz­zled on his ATP Fi­nals de­but.

The 20-year-old Ger­man, ranked third in the world, was hot and cold against Croa­tia’s Marin Cilic but, when it mat­tered most, he pro­duced his best ten­nis to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

Zverev, the youngest qual­i­fier for the sea­son-en­der for nine years, ap­peared to be fad­ing af­ter a daz­zling start, but surged back in style to join Fed­erer on top of the Boris Becker Group.

“It is dif­fer­ent walk­ing on here than any other sta­dium. The crowd, the at­mos­phere is amaz­ing,” Zverev, who rev­eled on the big stage, told re­porters af­ter the late-night fin­ish.

“There were a lot of nerves in­volved in my first match. Ob­vi­ously I’m happy that’s be­hind me.”

Zverev pos­sesses huge power off the ground, yet it was his fi­nesse at the net which earned him a break in the open­ing game, pick­ing off a low drop vol­ley that gave Cilic no chance.

His fore­hand wa­vered at times as Cilic clev­erly tried to take the pace off the ball with some floaty slices, but Zverev closed out the first set with an ace.

Cilic, back in Lon­don since his trau­matic Wim­ble­don fi­nal de­feat by Fed­erer when he broke down in tears as blis­ters wrecked his big day, then took con­trol.

The big Croat upped his serv­ing and fore­hand power to level the match and then led 3-1 in the third set.

At 3-2, he was 40-15 up on serve but Zverev, wound-up by an er­ro­neous over­rule, forged back to break with an ex­quis­ite lob. Cilic then dropped serve to love at 4-5 to lose for the sixth time in seven matches at the year-en­der.

Zverev, bid­ding to be­come the first Ger­man to fin­ish the year in the world’s top three since Boris Becker in 1994, will face a mouth­wa­ter­ing clash with Fed­erer on Tues­day.

Six-time cham­pion Fed­erer had ear­lier beaten Jack Sock.

“I think any­one beat­ing Fed­erer in this group has a good chance of [reach­ing the semi­fi­nals],” said Zverev, who beat the Swiss to win this year’s Mon­treal ti­tle, his sec­ond Masters 1,000 ti­tle of the year.

“But he’s the fa­vorite def­i­nitely in all of the matches he plays. But I en­joy play­ing in front of big stages, big crowds.”

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