By Ros Satar, in Eastbourne

  • Mischa Zverev def. Lukas Lacko 6-4 6-4
EASTBOURNE, UK – Mischa Zverev claimed his first ATP World Your title with a straight sets win over Lukas Lacko at the Nature Valley International.

 

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Mischa Zverev def. Lukas Lacko 6-4 6-4

In a tournament that saw the return of both Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka, albeit short-lived, it was not the current crop of British youngsters to shine, but Mischa Zverev, a contemporary of Murray and, until now better known as Alexander Zverev’s bigger brother.

Yet Zverev came to attention a couple pf years ago when he abruptly ended Andy Murray’s run in 2017 in the fourth round, with an old school serve and volley style that is made for the turf.

Although up until now his opponent Lukas Lacko had won just one tour level main draw match on the grass he had cut his teeth in qualifying this year in Halle and flew in Eastbourne taking out the top seed Diego Schwartzman, No. 4 seed (and winning-on-grass newbie) Marco Cecchinato, not to mention fast-rising Brit Cameron Norrie.

Zverev started decisively with a single break and held on to that lead to take the first set. Things were a lot more competitive in the second set with a 21-point game in which Lacko fended off five break points before succumbing on the sixth. Again, it was all the German needed as he closed out the set to love.

Zverev was overcome with emotion as he thanked his family and his wife, saying: “I always wanted to win at least a title. For many years I didn’t believe in myself. I didn’t think I was going to do it, especially when I was ranked 1100. But thank God I have my family and my brother and the whole team, my wife who is always telling me, no, you can achieve things, you can do big things. Just believe in yourself, work hard, and it’s going to pay off one day.

“Luckily, I have them and luckily I was able to listen to them, believe in myself, and just keep working and wait for it. Finally, I’m here. It’s incredible.”

Zverev’s list of injuries that threatened his career include a fractured wrist, fractured ribs, a herniated disc in his lower back and a tear in his patella tendon in his knee. His comeback has been gradual, but this title puts him well and truly up there as a dangerous floater in the Wimbledon draw.

Wimbledon takes place between 2-15 July.

 

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