ATP Finals: “Happy to have our first win under our belt”: After a forced break, Zverev got off to a perfect start in Turin

Dream start for Alexander Zverev in the ATP finals: He won his opening match at the annual final of the eight best tennis professionals of the season and thus took a first step towards the semi-finals.

ATP Finals: “Happy to have our first win under our belt”: After a forced break, Zverev got off to a perfect start in Turin

Dream start for Alexander Zverev in the ATP finals: He won his opening match at the annual final of the eight best tennis professionals of the season and thus took a first step towards the semi-finals. Zverev beat Carlos Alcaraz 6:7 (3:7), 6:3, 6:4.

"I'm happy to be here again. I missed it a lot last year," said Zverev after his surprising success. Zverev had to sit out injured in 2022. "I knew that I had to serve well today. I managed to do that. I'm happy that I have my first win under my belt," said Zverev, who hit 16 aces.

In front of 12,000 spectators in the sold-out Pala Alpitour, Zverev used his first match point after 2:31 hours. Zverev, who has already won the ATP Finals twice in his career, will now face Danill Medvedev. The world number three clearly won the duel with his Russian compatriot Andrei Rublyov 6:4, 6:2.

"You have to play your best tennis against him. Whenever I beat him, I succeeded," Zverev said before the game against the world number two. The last time Zverev defeated the Spaniard was in the quarterfinals of the French Open last year. At that time, Zverev was at the peak of his performance before he seriously injured his foot in the semi-final against Rafael Nadal and had to take a break for more than half a year.

Zverev is still a long way from this form in 2023. Two tournament victories in Hamburg and Chengdu, the semi-finals in Roland Garros - these are the positive outliers in a season that was otherwise characterized by a lot of ups and downs. Recently, Zverev seemed tired after a long year of tennis and had to worry about his participation in the ATP finals until the end.

But Zverev started well against Alcaraz. The Hamburg native managed a quick break, also because Alcaraz's lack of match practice in the past few weeks was clearly noticeable. The Spaniard made an unusually large number of mistakes and there wasn't much to be seen of his usual powerful game.

But Zverev couldn't take advantage of Alcaraz's weak start. Instead, he had to give up his serve a little later and became increasingly defensive. Also because he couldn't use four break points when the score was 3:3.

Alcaraz gained new confidence from this and took over the scepter. With the score at 5:6, Zverev was able to fend off three set points and save himself into the tiebreak. But a little later the Spaniard took the first round in his fourth attempt after just over an hour.

But Zverev was unimpressed. In the second set he immediately took Alcaraz's serve again and was able to maintain his lead this time. With an ace he equalized the set after 1:43 hours.

The momentum was now on Zverev's side. Alcaraz seemed inhibited and kept looking desperately at his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero in the stands. Above all, the world number two's otherwise dangerous stop balls didn't come at all this time. Zverev took advantage of this and took the lead to 3-2 with a break.

Shortly afterwards he had to survive a moment of shock. The Hamburg native twisted and fell to the ground. A murmur went through the audience and memories of his serious injury at the French Open 2022 were briefly awakened.

But Zverev got up again, delivered his service and shortly afterwards completed the somewhat surprising victory. "I didn't twist my ankle, but slipped a little. I have a little pain in my Achilles tendon. But I don't think it's anything bad. It's nothing like Paris last year," said Zverev.

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