Defeat against the defending champion: Zverev should fear the semi-finals at the end of the tennis season

Olympic champion Alexander Zverev has to worry about the semi-finals at the end of the season for the top eight tennis players. Two days after his opening success in Turin, the world number three lost to defending champion and US Open winner Daniil Medvedev 3:6, 7:6 (7:3), 6:7 (6:8) and thus missed the first opportunity to move on ahead.

Without his new girlfriend Sofia Tomala in the penalty area, Zverev had a balanced and exciting duel with the best Russian player on Tuesday from the second set, but he received his fifth defeat to Medvedev in a row.

The 24-year-old fought his way back and improved after initially not showing as strong as the world number two from Moscow and losing the first set. But again Medvedev was very powerful. This means there will be an interesting team showdown at the Million Dollar event on Thursday.

The decision will be made when Zverev meets Hubert Hurkacz in the final preliminary round of his group. The only comparison to date with the ninth place in the world rankings was set by Zverev over two years ago. In Turin, the new ATP Finals venue to be decided until 2025, he must finish his red group in first or second place in order to reach the semi-finals. Medvedev has already won two victories.

Zverev won his opening match against Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini earlier than expected on Sunday because the Italian side had to succumb to injury.

Negative series against Medvedev

On his second appearance, Zverev found it difficult to get into the match. With a double foul, he helped his opponent and gave up his first service game. Zverev himself did not use his three break chances at first. The score was at a speed of 0: 3, the opponent’s efficiency with the lone break ball was decisive for the first set.

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In the past few days, the number one seed in Germany has announced several times that he no longer feels the fatigue he felt in Paris. In the French capital, Zverev had no chance in 2:6, 2:6 against Medvedev in the semifinals. Ten days later, the duel between the third place in the world ranking list (Zverev) and the second (Medvedev) initially developed in a similar direction. The gold medalist in Tokyo had to run a lot, and Medvedev often won on long runs. With his head bowed, Zverev snuck off the bench when the first sentence ended after 38 minutes.

Zverev looked increasingly brave

The best German player was of course aware of the negative streak against Medvedev. Mental strength will be especially important, Misha Zverev, brother and manager, said before the meeting. At the beginning of the second movement, his younger brother showed his emotions for the first time. The five-time champion since 2021 has now racked up more aces in an eye-level match. Without a break in the second set, the decision was made in the tiebreak.

Stranger: A mistake by the Russian put the German ahead in the tiebreak. The previous year’s winner requested video evidence, but the decision remained. Shortly thereafter, Zverev’s chest jumped open when balancing the camel. The 2018 ATP Finals winner had the crowd cheering him on. Zverev now seemed more determined and courageous. But in the end, that wasn’t enough. Medvedev used the third match point.

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Zverev has been a two-time ATP semi-finalist in his previous four matches. The previous year he was eliminated after the preliminary round. (dpa)

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