By Ros Satar, at the Nitto ATP Finals

  • Alexander Zverev [3] def. John Isner [8] 7-6(5) 6-3
  • Will face Roger Federer in the first semi-final on Saturday
LONDON, UK – Alexander Zverev secured his spot in the Nitto ATP Finals, with a straight sets win over John Isner.


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Alexander Zverev [3] def. John Isner [8] 7-6(5) 6-3

Alexander Zverev put aside the disappointment of last’s almost-but-not-quite moment where he fell at the final hurdle of the round-robin stage, to secure his spot in the semi-finals of the Nitto ATP Finals.

John Isner in the first round robin match of the ATP World Tour Finals 2018, London

John Isner in the first round robin match of the ATP World Tour Finals 2018, London | (Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)

In a scenario that was by no means as complicated as that for Group Hewitt, the equation was quite clear for debutante John Isner. He had to win in two sets with Djokovic to win later in the day to secure his spot, and with the first set only throwing up a single break point in the last game before the tiebreak, the match really could have fallen either way.

It was Isner who was unable to break Zverev to grab the first set, and with that his best chance of coming through. The tie-break was no less competitive with a brace of breaks at the end, but ultimately Zverev capitalising on the one set point he had.

With Zverev orchestrating the crowd to get them going, Isner was not going to go without a fight, in a match that continued to be played in good spirits. In the end it took just a single break from Zverev at the end of the set to gain the advantage before serving it out, and securing his spot in the semi-finals.

READ MORE | Tennis | ATP World Tour Finals 2018 | Zverev lashes out at calendar length after being downed by Djokovic

This week Zverev has spoken at length about his issues with the length of the season, and the issues that scheduling pose in terms of players resting, which has prompted some criticism from Roger Federer and Tim Henman in terms of the younger players managing their schedules better.

Alexander Zverev in the first round-robin at the ATP World Tour Finals 2018, London

Alexander Zverev in the first round-robin at the ATP World Tour Finals 2018, London | (Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)

As Zverev, 21, reaches the season-ending finale of the main ATP Tour for the second time in a row, he pointed out that for younger players starting out on the tour, they are not afforded the same rules as the more established players.

He said: “If you call the Laver Cup an exhibition, I have played one. Apart from that, I haven’t played an exhibition this year. Roger is older, so he has different rules from the ATP. He can skip two Masters Series. He doesn’t have to play all the 500 events. I have to play all the four Grand Slams, all the nine Masters events, and I have to play four 500 events outside of that. Actually, I even played a 250 event as well.

“I also talked, it’s not about the amount of tennis we play inside of that year, it’s how long we have off. Even if you’re not playing for a week in a tournament, you can’t take that week off. You have to be training, you have to be preparing.”

With the season for these players ending this weekend, they have six weeks until the start of the season.  Zverev will be partnering Angelique Kerber once more at the Hopman Cup, which starts on 29 December, and the regular season commences on the 31 December.

He continued: “My argument is always we don’t have time to prepare. I mean, we finish here, we go for a 10-day holiday, then we train for two weeks, then we go to Australia. That’s more my thinking behind it. It’s not the amount of matches that we play inside of those weeks, it’s more about how much off time we can actually have.

“Because we can’t have off time during the season. We can’t say, Okay, I’m going to take two weeks’ holidays, going to the Maldives in July. That’s not how it works. You have to be trained, you have to be prepared. Also, the physical part, you can’t be doing heavy training during the season. The off-season is the only time you have time to prepare yourself.”

He will face Federer on Saturday, not before 2pm.



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