COLOGNE, October 17, 2020
Top seed Alexander Zverev of Germany and #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime will compete in Sunday’s championship match of the inaugural bett1HULKS Indoors in Cologne.
Zverev defeated Alejandro Davidovich Fokina from Spain 7-5, 7-6(3) on Saturday afternoon to reach his 20th final at tour level. On the slower court inside the Lanxess Arena, the 23-year-old from Hamburg fired 10 aces and won 72 per cent of his first-service points to prevail after one hour and 56 minutes. It was the pair’s second meeting after Zverev only lost five games to the Iberian in the fourth round of the US Open.
“He played much better tennis and I think he’s somebody who is going to go up the Rankings very quickly,” Zverev said. “For me he’s a great guy as well. He’s very talented, extremely good with the hands. I think he’s somebody who’s going to find his way up and it’s going to be interesting to see what the future weeks [hold for him] this year and next year as well.”
Zverev, who has reached at least two tour-level finals for the fifth straight year, said. “I played the final of the US Open. Of course, this is something I didn’t achieve in the past but I have also won at least one title since 2016. This is the statistic, which is more important to me.”
Auger-Aliassime fights past Bautista Agut
Germany’s top-ranked male player could capture his 12th ATP Tour career title on Sunday when he will face Auger-Aliassime for the third time. The 20-year-old from Montreal fought past No. 2 seed Roberto Bautista Agut from Spain 6-3, 1-6, 6-3. Auger-Aliassime sent down seven aces and broke his opponent’s serve three times to secure victory in one hour and 50 minutes.
“Obviously I’m happy to beat a player like this today. To be in another final after some ups and downs feels good and gives me confidence,” said Auger-Aliassime, who will appear in his sixth title match on the ATP Tour, seeking his maiden trophy.
Zverev won both of the previous two meetings with the current World No. 22. Neither at the 2019 ATP Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo nor at the ATP 500 event in Beijing the same year did the German drop a set.
“I’ve practised with him many times back home… hopefully tomorrow I can give myself chances to win. It’s going to be a great battle,” Auger-Aliassime said of the upcoming title match. “We’ve already played twice and for sure it’s the start of our careers and we’re going to play many times. This is our first final playing [each other] and hopefully not the last.”
Second week without spectators
Earlier in the day, tournament organizer Edwin Weindorfer announced that due to the rising cases of new COVID-19 infections in Cologne, the second week of the back-to-back events will also be held without spectators.
“We want to have a safe event,” Weindorfer told journalists on Saturday. “The entire 10,000 tickets sold, will be reimbursed. It is very sad to play the bett1HULKS Championship without fans but we will keep our chin up. We knew about the risk and we will try to stay flexible and innovative.”
Besides the fact of being the first ATP Tour event, which is held at the same place for two consecutive weeks, one of the new things introduced by the organizers is a live-band. The music group named “The Swag” impresses with a fantastic sound during the changeovers.
— bett1_HULKS (@bett1hulks) October 16, 2020