ATP Finals: Inspired Zverev crowned champion after victory over Djokovic | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 18.11.2018
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ATP Finals: Inspired Zverev crowned champion after victory over Djokovic

Germany's Alexander Zverev claimed the biggest win of his career, beating world number one Novak Djokovic to win the season finale in London. Zverev becomes the first German to win the event since Boris Becker in 1995.

Alexander Zverev ascent towards the top of the men's game took a significant stride forward when he followed up the defeat of Roger Federer in the semi-finals with victory over Novak Djokovic in the final.

The 21-year-old has been long tipped to be the next big name in tennis but has so far struggled to weaken the grip that Djokovic, Federer and Rafael Nadal have on the game. And while the young man from Hamburg is still yet to win his first Grand Slam, this victory was an important milestone in his journey to the top.

Djokovic came into the final having not dropped a set all tournament as he chased a record-equaling sixth ATP World Tour finals crown. The Serb had only lost one final of this event before — to Britain's Andy Murray in 2016 — and was the firm favorite to win again. But Zverev had other ideas.

Zverev won the toss and elected to receive, a decision that saw the opening eight games go with service. But Zverev pounced in the penultimate game of the first set to break Djokovic, and kept his cool to serve three aces on his way to the first set, which he won 6-4 to raise the London crowd's expectations of witnessing a surprise.

Djokovic, who outclassed Zverev in the round robin, saw his service game disintegrate in the second set as Zverev pounced on a long Djokovic service game to break the Serbian again. But Zverev, who has been coached by Ivan Lendl since August, surrendered that break immediately with both players exchanging breaks of serve. But having broken to go 3-2 up in the second, Zverev was finally able to consolidate it by holding the following game and opened a 4-2 lead over the world number one.

This time the world number five didn't let it slip away, and showed no signs of nerves as he held on to complete a memorable 6-4 6-3 victory, sealing it with a fine backhand winner and collapsing to the ground in delight. Zverev is the first German to win the title since Boris Becker in Frankfurt in 1995 and the youngest since Djokovic won at the same age in Shanghai in 2008.

"I really can't describe it. It's the biggest title I've won in my career," said Zverev, who already has three Masters titles to his name. "Novak has been incredible and he's barely lost a match, but I'm glad you lost one to me today."