Alexander Zverev opened his arms laughing and freely greeted the Turin audience: the Olympic champion gave a big surprise at the start of the ATP Finals and disappointed Carlos Alcaraz.
The 26-year-old player from Hamburg defeated the second seed from Wimbledon from Spain 6:7 (3:7), 6:3, 6:4 and decisively opened the door to the semi-finals. Not even a fall in the third set took Zverev out of his rhythm.
The winner of the 2018 and 2021 tournament, who beat Alcaraz with a brutal serve and a better balance between risk and safety, will face the Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev in the group stage. The first two advance to the semifinals.
“My serve helped me a lot,” Zverev said in the on-court interview: “I’m happy with the change. It’s always great to beat the best players in the world, and he is one of them.” In total, Zverev hit 16 aces and scored a strong 79 percent of the time when the first serve came.
Zverev slips: memories of Paris awaken
“I just enjoy being among the eight best players in the world and being able to compete with them,” he said before the start at the Pala Alpitour, knowing that the tournament suits him: hard court, indoors without influences from external wind, two sets. of profits.
He also showed it against Alcaraz, who had already clearly demonstrated the limits of the best German player twice this season. The current world number seven from Germany did not win a set in either the round of 16 of the Madrid Masters or the quarterfinals of the US Open.
In Turin, however, Zverev created his chances early on with good serving and an initially lower error rate than Alcaraz, but then missed four break points when the score was 3:3. Then the Spaniard, who had been a little weak in recent months, suddenly appeared and showed the class of him. In the tiebreak he secured the first set.
Alcaraz makes a lot of mistakes – Zverev bites
At the beginning of the second round, Alcaraz lost his sovereignty again, made simple errors (33 unforced errors in total) and Zverev quickly pulled away to 3-0. With three aces in one game he finally sealed the victory in the set. After a break to make it 3-2 in the decisive stretch, Zverev sadly slipped and grimaced briefly. Alcaraz immediately approached and asked about the burger’s well-being.
He gave a thumbs up and then gave the thumbs up. “I didn’t twist my ankle. I slipped and felt a pull on my Achilles tendon. It was an annoying pain, but I don’t think anything was broken. It’s nothing compared to Paris 2022.”
At least he didn’t show anything in the match, he kept his nerve and celebrated the success.
Zverev now has a day off on Tuesday before things get serious again on Wednesday. Instead, the parallel group with Novak Djokovic is now needed again, the Serbian will face the South Tyrolean Jannik Sinner on Tuesday evening (9:00 p.m. live ticker), and in the afternoon Stefanos Tsitsipas and the Boris Becker’s protégé, Holger Rune (2:30 pm).