Zverev and Nadal meet five times, five times the Spaniard wins. But now the German turns the tables: At the most important tournament of the year, the ATP Finals, the defending champion puts the world number one in the barriers.
Perfect start and maiden victory for the defending champion: Alexander Zverev won against Rafael Nadal for the first time in his career at the opening of the ATP Finals. The 22-year-old tennis player from Hamburg prevailed in London in the first group match after a remarkable performance with 6: 2, 6: 4 against the world ranking first from Spain. After 1:23 hours Zverev turned his first match point and went after the sixth comparison with Nadal for the first time as the winner of the place.
"It was great, and from the start of the season it was my goal to get back to London, which means a lot to me," said Zverev, who celebrated the biggest title in his career here last year. Zverev will meet Stefanos Tsitsipas from Greece on Wednesday, who won the first match of the group "Andre Agassi" against Russian Daniil Medvedev. Also against Tsitsipas Zverev has a 1: 3 negative balance, in early October in the semifinals of Beijing but only just lost. "I hope I can play my best tennis again this week," said Zverev in an interview on the field. Nadal gets involved with Medvedev on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old left-hander from Majorca did not make his semifinals last semester at the Masters Series tournament in Paris-Bercy due to an abdominal muscle injury competed. During the week he had already indicated that he could not accurately assess his health. In fact, Nadal was at least inhibited.
Whereby his opponent on the other side of the net did his part. Zverev played from the first rally highly concentrated and showed a bravura performance. For 3: 2 he succeeded in the first set the break. Zverev struck hard, finishing eleven aces and not allowing a single breakchance to hit Nadals.
He also returned well, bringing Nadal to despair with precise punches. For 5: 2 Zverev again Nadal took the serve and did not miss this opportunity. After 34 minutes, the Hamburg round decided one by one.
Zverev without weakness
In the second sentence, the picture did not change fundamentally. Zverev took his first service from the 12-time Roland Garros winner. In a 5: 3 lead Zverev changed again the bat, Nadal brought through his service with difficulty. But then Zverev hit on the match win – and showed no weaknesses and no nerves.
For Nadal could thus continue the London curse in 2019. The ATP Finals are the only big tournament he has not won yet. Six times already, he was missing injured. In 2017 he retired after a defeat against the Belgian David Goffin.
German double wins likewise
The tournament's debutants Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies celebrated another magnificent start from a German perspective. The number three seed won the Dutch-Romanian combination Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau 7: 6 (7: 3), 4: 6, 10: 6. "That was a good match and a solid start," said the 27-year-old Coburg Krawietz after the victory in 1:43 hours.
Krawietz and the 29-year-old Cologne Mies had for the first time for the season finale Spectacles qualified and were impressed by the atmosphere in the hall. "It was so much fun, we enjoyed every second," said Mies. Krawietz spoke of a "special moment" and an "incredible feeling."