Zverev Edges Out Federer To Reach ATP Finals Title Match

Alexander Zverev

LONDON, November 17, 2018

Alexander Zverev has become the first German to reach the title match of the Nitto ATP Finals since Boris Becker in 1996. The 21-year-old Hamburg native edged past No. 2 seed Roger Federer 7-5, 7-6(5) on Saturday afternoon at The O2.

Zverev sent down seven aces, winning 88 per cent of his first service points, broke serve two times to prevail after one hour and 35 minutes. However, there was a controversy in the tie-break after Zverev stopped playing during a rally when a ball boy dropped a ball on court. Eventually, the German converted his second match point with a backhand drive volley.

“First of all I want to apologize for this situation in the tie-break,” Zverev said during his on-court interview with Annabel Croft while some fans at The O2 were booing the youngster after the biggest win of his career. “The ball boy dropped the ball, so it’s in the rules that we have to replay the point. I also apologized to Roger at the net and he said it’s okay.” 

Zverev is now the youngest finalist in the season finale since Juan Martin Del Potro in 2009.

“I played really well. I played really aggressive from start to finish. I knew I had to be the one that was aggressive, kind of not letting Roger dictate.”

Asked if the situation with the ball boy affected him, Federer responded: “Of course it did. It got replayed. I got aced. So, yes, it did affect me.

“I’m not questioning Sascha’s sportsmanship in any way. It’s a bold move by Sascha to stop the rally because the  umpire can just say, Sorry, buddy, you’re in the rally. I don’t care. You lost the point. I didn’t see it.”

The Swiss’ 2018 comes to an end with a 48-10 record after setting a new personal best start of 17-0 in March.

“Sampras once upon a time said, If you win a slam, it’s a good season. So I started great. I played super well in Australia again. So obviously I can’t wait to go back there in a couple of months,” Federer said.

“The second half of the season could have been better maybe. I also have high hopes to always do well. So I’m happy I gave myself opportunities again in that second half of the season. I maybe lost a couple too close matches that could have changed things around for me a little bit. I don’t know, Paris or Wimbledon, whatever happened. I’m here now. So I’m a little bit disappointed there because I believe I was close. Being close makes me believe I can keep going, I can win again. That’s uplifting in some ways.”

Bryan/Sock reach doubles final

Earlier in the day, Mike Bryan and Jack Sock booked their spot in the doubles final. The US-American duo fought past Jamie Murray from Great Britain and Brazilian Bruno Soares 6-3, 4-6, 10-4 in one hour and 16 minutes.

“It was a good match. I was enjoying playing it. Lots of different styles of play on the court, which makes it interesting. But, disappointed obviously to come up short again at this stage,” Murray said.

After making their team debut across the city at the Fever Tree Championships in June, Bryan and Sock have claimed victory in 19 of their 25 tour-level encounters this season.

“[The final] is going to be a great day. I am going to be super excited and hopefully I can get to [my] fifth title here,” said Bryan.