#NextGen Zverev Beats Wawrinka For First ATP World Tour Title
Third time is the charm for 19 year old
#NextGen star Alexander Zverev claimed his first ATP World Tour title on Sunday, knocking off US Open champion Stan Wawrinka and ending the teenage title drought on the ATP World Tour.
The 19 year old Zverev withstood a late charge from Wawrinka to win the St. Petersburg Open final 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 in two hours and 23 minutes. The Hamburg native had been 0-2 in his previous finals this season and in his career (l. to Mayer at Halle; l. to Thiem at Nice).
“This victory is something special,” Zverev said. “I played all the finals well. I lost to Dominic Thiem on clay and I could have won against Florian Mayer on the grass... Now I'm very happy with the win, especially over such a great player like Stan.”
The upset ends two winning streaks for Wawrinka: His finals streak, which ends at 11 and started in January 2014 with a victory against Edouard Roger-Vasselin in Chennai. The win also snaps Wawrinka's overall win streak at 10, dating back to his first-round match at the US Open.
“We showed high-quality tennis,” Wawrinka said. “I was struggling in the third set. I had chances but I didn't manage to convert them. He deserved the win.”
Zverev had lost his previous finals in three sets, and he looked out of it in the early goings of Sunday's third set as well. Wawrinka was up a break at 3-0 and had grabbed control of the match by forcing the 6'6" Zverev to chase balls all over the court – up, back and from side to side – by using a variety of slice and topspin.
But Zverev, the 2015 ATP Star Of Tomorrow presented by Emirates, crawled back into the final. The two were tied at 5-all and in the midst of a 21-shot baseline rally when Wawrinka blasted a forehand wide to give the German his fourth and final break. Heading into Sunday, Wawrinka had won 28 consecutive service games and erased all eight break points faced in St. Petersburg.
"In the third set, I had the initiative and played slice to his left more. I tried to neutralize his massive backhand," Zverev said.
Serving for the match, Zverev stepped up to the line with confidence and sealed the title with a forehand winner. He's the first teenage titlist on the ATP World Tour since 19 year old Marin Cilic won New Haven in 2008.
In beating World No. 3 Wawrinka in the final and World No. 9 Tomas Berdych in the semi-final, Zverev also becomes the first player to win his maiden ATP World Tour title by defeating back-to-back Top 10 opponents since Albert Portas won the 2001 Hamburg crown (d. No. 7 Hewitt in semi-final; d. No. 6 Ferrero in final).
Zverev will receive 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points and $163,485. He'll also match a career high of No. 24 in the new Emirates ATP Rankings. Wawrinka will receive 150 Emirates ATP Rankings points and $86,100.