Opening victory in the ATP Finals: Zverev takes advantage of Berrettini's pain

Opening victory in the ATP Finals
Zverev benefits from peritoneal pain

Alexander Zverev is putting himself in a good starting position in the battle for the semi-finals of the ATP Finals – but he is taking advantage of Matteo Berrettini’s assignment. Zverev leads 7:6 (9:7), 1:0 in his first game, before the Italian allows himself a tackle and then gives up.

First, Alexander Zverev challenged the madhouse in Turin, and then had to offer condolences. The tennis star won his inaugural ATP Finals match against local champion Matteo Berrettini, but benefited from the Italian’s injury. Zverev led 7:6 (9:7), 1:0 before the finalist succumbed at Wimbledon – resting Berrettini with a warm hug. After Berrettini left the court, Zverev said: “I don’t know what to say. He’s playing at home, and that’s the worst feeling you can have. The first set was tennis at an incredibly high level.”

Zverev, winner of the top eight of the season in 2018, topped the red group with defending champion Daniil Medvedev. The US Open champion from Russia, the next contender for the first champion in Germany, beat the Polish outside player Hubert Hurkacz 6:7 (5:7), 6:3, 6:4. The best players in two groups of the preliminary round qualify for the round semi final.

Zverev heard from the first gathering that he not only had to face Berrettini. While the 7,000 or so spectators at the Pala Alpitour honored his point with courteous applause, the lone Italian on the field was a thunderous jubilation of Davis Cup style duels at the better end. However, Zverev did not manage to directly hinder the mood. In the duel between two very strong servants, Hamburger had four break opportunities in the first set – but left them all unused. Missed opportunities were recognized by loudly listening “Mathew, Mathieu”.

Too much pressure already for Krawitz

Zverev had already expected the hot weather, but this was not important for the first German. “I always admire him when he is loud and lively on the field. Even when people are against me,” Zverev said before the match. At first, Zverev had obvious advantages against the often overheated Berrettini at long rallies. But the Italian was better and better in the match with a powerful forehand. With two set pieces saved, the best German player saved himself in the tiebreak and used his opponent’s small weaknesses there.

Shortly thereafter, the Brittney disaster took its course. His face was writhing in pain, he dropped his racket and called a physiotherapist. He treated his lateral abdominal muscles, but then had to succumb to the cheering applause of his countrymen.

On the other hand, Kevin Krawetz is already under great pressure in the doubles competition. Two-time French Open winner and partner Horia Tekao of Romania lost the opening match to Olympic seed and Wimbledon champion Nikola Mektic/Mate Pavic (Croatia) 4-6, 4-6. “It’s now the knockout stage for us,” Krawitz said. “Now we have to win every game in order to survive in the group.”

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