By Ros Satar, at the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals

  • Novak Djokovic [1] def. Alexander Zverev [3] 6-4, 6-1
  • Zverev admits he has been struggling for a couple of months at end of a long season
LONDON, UK – Alexander Zverev has one more chance to keep his qualification hopes alive after being down by Novak Djokovic.

 

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Novak Djokovic [1] def. Alexander Zverev [3] 6-4, 6-1

In what promised to be one of the more competitive encounters this tournament, Alexander Zverev took on World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and certainly in the first few games, they started to deliver one of the better matches we had seen.

Novak Djokovic in the first round robin match at the ATP World Tour Finals 2018, London

Novak Djokovic in the first round robin match at the ATP World Tour Finals 2018, London | (GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

It was highly competitive with Zverev more than holding his own, and even threatening to break the World No. 1, but his failure to do so belied a worse fate, as he double-faulted away the set for Djokovic to take the lead.

From there, things just seemed to spiral for the German, who was broken twice in succession for a sniffly Djokovic to wrap up a 2-0 lead and to head up the group.

After the match, Djokovic claimed he thought the Zverev had not been able to quite produce his best tennis:

“It seemed like Sascha was not feeling really great, definitely not playing well, especially from the back of the court. He made a lot of errors. Yeah, I mean, wasn’t a great quality tennis match, to be honest, at least from the court.”

Zverev could only concur. He has often been blunt about the issues of scheduling and the glut of tournaments.

“The issue is that our season is way too long. That’s the issue. But I’ve said it before. We play for 11 months a year. That’s ridiculous. No other professional sport does that.”

His run in to the season-ending finale after a third-round defeat at the US Open included Laver Cup, two tournaments in China, Basel and the Paris Masters.

He continued: “I just started missing. I just started missing unnecessary balls. I was getting frustrated with myself about that. I mean, even the last game in the first set, I missed a few easy balls. I double-faulted on breakpoint. That’s very difficult.

“But, you know, at the end of the day I don’t want to think about it too much because in two days’ time I will give myself the best chance I can to be in the semi-finals. That’s where I think I’ll take it as a normal quarterfinal match at a normal tournament. To be in the semi-finals here would mean a lot to me. For that, I have to play good tennis.”

Zverev will face John Isner in the final round-robin matches, to take place on Friday.

 

 

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