Zverev Repeats! Top Seed Rolls To Washington Title
The #NextGenATP showed its readiness for the big stage this week, with four players 21 or younger reaching the semi-finals in Washington, D.C., the first time that has happened on the ATP World Tour since 1995 in Buenos Aires. But it was the self-proclaimed ‘old guy’ of the group who left no doubt that he deserved the title.
Top seed Alexander Zverev beat 19-year-old Alex de Minaur 6-2, 6-4 to triumph at the Citi Open on Sunday, capturing his third tour-level trophy of the season and ninth overall.
"It's quite funny, because this final could be the final of the next 15 years, so I hope you guys all enjoyed it," Zverev told the crowd.
The 21-year-old German prevailed in the youngest ATP World Tour final since the 2007 BNP Paribas Open (Nadal vs. Djokovic) to become the first repeat champion in the United States capital since Juan Martin del Potro triumphed in 2008-09. The Monaco resident’s victory comes in the youngest championship match in Washington, D.C. since 1982, when Ivan Lendl beat Jimmy Arias.
"It feels great. It shows mental strength as well, and shows a little bit of maturity," said Zverev, who earns 500 ATP Rankings points and $384,120.. "I had a great tournament. I played a lot of great players. Losing only one set, it was a fantastic week for me."
De Minaur showed fantastic heart to battle through a two-hour, 52-minute semi-final against Andrey Rublev on Sunday evening. But he simply could not find an answer to the German’s offence in the 74-minute championship match.
Zverev’s serve kept his younger opponent well behind the baseline, and he would use that to win all but two of his first-serve points in the match. The top seed played with more control than Rublev, while maintaining an aggressive posture in rallies. So it was tough for De Minaur to step into the baseline and impose his game.
The Aussie earned a roar of applause from the crowd when he hit an inside-in winner to hold for 3-4 in the second set, after saving three break points to avoid a double-break deficit. It was clear De Minaur was going to battle until the end, much like his mentor, former World No. 1 and 2004 champion Lleyton Hewitt. He saved two match points on his own serve at 3-5, but Zverev clinched the victory when De Minaur hit a backhand into the net in the next game.
The pair’s only previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting came earlier this year in Davis Cup. Zverev won that battle in five sets after three hours, 54 minutes.
While De Minaur fell short of becoming the youngest Citi Open champion since former World No. 1 Andy Roddick in 2001, he was still the youngest ATP World Tour 500-level finalist since Zverev made the final in Halle two years ago. He also claims 300 ATP Rankings points and $188,315.
De Minaur, who began the campaign at World No. 208, will crack the Top 50 for the first time on Monday. The teenager will soar from No. 72 to No. 45.
"It’s been a great ride, and hopefully many more to come," Zverev said. "It’s been a really special week for me. It’s been a great first time here, and I can’t wait to come back."
Did You Know?
Zverev is now 9-5 in tour-level finals. He owns three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophies, claiming his third earlier this season at the Mutua Madrid Open.