Zverev And Djokovic Get Off To Winning Start At ATP Finals

Alexander Zverev and Marin Cilic during the ATP Finals (photo: Florian Heer)

LONDON, November 12, 2018

Five-time champion and year-end No. 1 Novak Djokovic opened his Nitto ATP Finals campaign at The O2 on Monday against 6-foot-10 debutant John Isner, the tallest player ever to compete at the season finale.

Djokovic showed a solid performance, winning 6-4, 6-3. The 31-year-old Serbian didn’t face a break point, converting three of his own nine chances to finish the round-robin encounter in Group Guga Kuerten after one hour and 13 minutes.

“I played a fantastic match, breaking Isner’s serve three times is great. I was able to read his serve well and glad to start the tournament with a win,” Djokovic told Sky Germany afterwards.

Zverev extends winning record over Cilic

Earlier in the day, Alexander Zverev extended his winning streak to six in a row over Marin Cilic, as the No. 3 seeded German defeated the Croat 7-6(5), 7-6(1). After a slow start Zverev became better the longer the match lasted. The Hamburg native won 54 per cent of the total points played to seal victory in two hours and six minutes.

The court is very fast. And it’s very high bouncing as well. So, it’s more difficult than in other tournaments, so everybody has to kind of find their rhythm in the first match. But at the end of the day, it was a pretty good match,” Zverev said.

“I’m happy to get the win. That’s the most important thing. It’s important – this tournament is big. It is very important to all of us players. Everybody wants to do well.”

Doubles Group Knowles/Nestor gets underway

The winners of all four Grand Slam doubles titles in 2018 and the last two year-end No. 1 teams are in Group Knowles/Nestor. Australian Open champions and top-ranked Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic opened play on Monday with a 6-4, 7-6(3) win over Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut in one hour andn 46 minutes.

“We are happy we won it today. For sure, one team we lost twice this year. It’s a very tough team when they really play well. They’re tough to beat,” Marach was pleased afterwards.

“We played today very solid, I have to say. We had a great start. We served both very well. We returned very well.”

US-Americans Mike Bryan and Jack Sock also had a successful start into the season finale. The No. 5 seeds, winners of the Wimbledon and US Open crowns, saved one set point in the second set en route to defeating last year’s finalists and tournament’s No. 3 duo Lukasz Kubot from Poland and Marcelo Melo of Brazil 6-3, 7-6(5) in 87 minutes.

ATP Finals Notes:

  • Alexander Zverev, a friend of gold chains, told the media about his plans for the upcoming off-season: “I’m going to Dubai for five days and then the Maldives for vacation. I’ve had those chains since I was a little kid
    and I’m never taking them off. They have meaning for me. That’s why I wear them.”
  • During his post-match interview with Sky Germany, Novak Djokovic was asked the questions in German, but he answered in English. Nonetheless, we think: “Gut gemacht, Nole!”