By Ros Satar, at the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals

  • Alexander Zverev [3] def. Marin Cilic [5] 7-6(5) 7-6(1)
  • Cilic’s woes continue at this tournament where he is 1-9
LONDON, UK – Alexander Zverev took full advantage of Marin Cilic choking away a commanding lead to scrape through his opener and get his Nitto ATP World Tour Finals off to a winning start.


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Alexander Zverev [3] def. Marin Cilic [5] 7-6(5) 7-6(1)

Coming into this encounter Alexander Zverev led all the players on the ATP World tour with a 54-18 record, but while he had a solid 5-1 record over Marin Cilic, at the start the traffic was all the Croatian’s way.

Marin Cilic in the first round-robin at the ATP World Tour Finals 2018, London

Marin Cilic in the first round-robin at the ATP World Tour Finals 2018, London | (GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

Breaking early to lead 3-0, Cilic found himself in a commanding position, serving for the set at 5-3, and there things started to deteriorate. Zverev started to find his rhythm a little more, inching his way back into the match to force a tie-break.

From there Zverev did not really look back, staying ahead for most of the tie-break to sneak the first set.

Things were a lot more competitive in the second set. Cilic was just not able to hold on to his break advantage, losing his serve immediate for Zverev to level at 4-4, on the way to another tie-break. This time it was completely one-way traffic for the German as he started with a win – but maybe not altogether a convincing one.

Cilic could only rue his missed chances as well as reflecting on a very one-sided record.

He said: “I had a very good start to the match, I was close to having the double break in the first set. After that, when I lost my serve, I missed a few balls just a couple of unforced errors. Made one double fault and gave him an opportunity to come back and to win that first set.

“After that, I felt that he started to play a bit better. He served towards the end of the set quite good. And the tie-break was tight. I think it could have gone both ways and just generally I felt that I was playing well, just I was not capitalising on my chances.

“Second set as well, a break up and lost again my serve. So, it was just a bit up-and-down through the match. And in these kind of matches, if you don’t take your chances, that is unfortunately the way it goes.”

Zverev had to be happy with that performance, even though certainly at the start it did not look like he was going to pull off the win, of only to add to the mystique about whether the court is playing slow or fast.

Zverev said: “The court is difficult. The court is very fast. And it’s very high bouncing as well. So, it’s more difficult than in other tournaments, so everybody has to kind of find their rhythm in the first match. But at the end of the day, it was a pretty good match in the end.

“I’m happy to get the win. That’s the most important thing. It’s important – this tournament is big. It is very important to all of us players. Everybody wants to do well.”

Zverev continues to speak out on the scheduling he feels is a real issue, reiterating that he had no intention of playing in next year’s revamped Davis Cup final in November, the week-long ‘World Cup’ style event, as well as considering what the ATP World Team Cup would bring to the calendar.

He said: “I’m not going to play Davis Cup in November. I am going to play in February in Germany, in Frankfurt, I’m going to do that. But the Davis Cup has some serious issues to think about, I think. One of them is the dates. I think the dates is very important and I think none of the top players will play, except Rafa because it’s in Spain. I’m very, very sure that a lot of top players will not play. We’ll see how it goes.

“The World Cup, I don’t know much about it yet. It’s still a long time to go for the event. Hopefully, it’s going to be a good event. Obviously, it’s in the first week of the year, so it makes sense to play, and it’s in Australia as well. So it’s not bad schedule-wise.”

Play continues at the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals at 12pm.



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