Zverev powers past Thiem, wins Madrid Masters title
Wawrinka beaten on return from injury in Rome
MADRID, May 13, (AFP): Alexander Zverev showed his clay-court class by blowing away Dominic Thiem to win the Madrid Masters on Sunday.
Zverev has long been marked out as a future star of the men’s game and his 6-4, 6-4 victory over Thiem suggests the German can be a major threat at the French Open later this month.
Thiem had ousted Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals on Friday and he too will be among the small group capable of preventing the Spaniard from claiming an 11th Roland Garros crown.
But the Austrian was outplayed, and over-powered, by Zverev, who collects his third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title, the most prestigious tier of knockout tournament beneath the four Grand Slams.
Zverev is now one of five active players to have won three, the others being Roger Federer, Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
Those four are all aged 30 or older, while Zverev is 21.
Ranked third in the world, Zverev is yet to transfer his talent and success in Masters events to Grand Slams, however, where his best result remains reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon last year.
Meanwhile, Swiss star Stan Wawrinka struggled on his return after almost three months on the sidelines, falling to a first round defeat in the clay-court Italian Open on Sunday.
The three-time Grand Slam champion lost 6-4, 6-4 to 55th-ranked American Steve Johnson.
Wawrinka, 33, sat out the second half of 2017 after a knee operation following a first-round exit at Wimbledon in June.
He then spent eight weeks on crutches following surgery to repair the damage.
He returned this year but has struggled and was
Germany’s Alexander Zverev poses with his trophy after defeating Austria’s Dominic Thiem during
their ATP Madrid Open final tennis match at the Caja Magica in Madrid on May 13. (AFP)