LONDON, November 11, 2019
Defending champion Alexander Zverev and World No. 1 Rafael Nadal headlined Monday evening’s singles action at the Nitto ATP Finals. The 22-year-old German won 6-2, 6-4 to celebrate his first victory over the Spaniard in the pair’s sixth meeting.
Zverev, the only player in this year’s London field without multiple titles in 2019 was in superb form, struck 11 aces and hit 26 winners to prevail after one hour and 24 minutes.
Ruthless performance from @AlexZverev 🔥
Last year’s champion triumphs 6-2, 6-4 & defeats Nadal for the first time in his career 👌
— ATP Tour (@atptour) November 11, 2019
“Sascha played well and served huge, which was difficult to read,” Nadal had to admit. “We can find reasons or excuses, but at the end of the day, what all really matters is I need to play much better in two days after tomorrow. That’s the only thing.”
About his physical conditions, the Spaniard added: “I am happy the way that abdominal hold, and hopefully I can continue like this, because it’s true that I was not able to create a lot of practice and a lot of effort on that part of the body since last Saturday. So is a positive thing that I hold the whole match today. Hopefully I can keep going, and hopefully I can practice a little bit more tomorrow.”
Zverev was understandably happy about his performance. “It’s definitely a place and a court that I love, and that brings maybe the best out of me,” the German said. “Obviously when I’m here, I want to use the opportunity as much as I can and do the best as I can. Today was definitely a great match, and I’m super happy to kind of have this match, you know, the first day that I play.”
Herbert/Mahut upset top seeds
Earlier in the evening, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut of France opened their ATP Finals campaign with a 6-3, 7-5 win over the tournament’s top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah of Colombia. The all-French combination, who is making their fifth straight appearance at London’s O2-Arena, secured victory in one hour and 21 minutes and took the lead in Group Max Mirnyi.
“It was a great match for us,” said Herbert. “It was a high-level match from both sides and we knew we needed to be good against the No. 1 team. We’re so happy with the level we played. To come through this first match is something special for us.”
Mahut added: “I remember well how they won Wimbledon, as I was on the other side of the court [with Edouard Roger-Vasselin].Today we made the best start at the ATP Finals in our five appearances here. We’re really happy to have won today and will keep trying to win.”