Published: Sat, November 17, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Alexander Zverev sends strong ATP Finals statement with impressive Marin Cilic victory

Alexander Zverev sends strong ATP Finals statement with impressive Marin Cilic victory

"He was up a break in both sets but it was a very important match, you don't want to start the group stages with a defeat so it's a very important win".

The 29-year-old Pole, who reached a career-high ranking of No. 2, says she is "no longer able to train and play the way I used to".

The serve was exceptional; it was one of his best performances ever.' Federer opened his campaign in London with a straight-set loss to Nishikori.

In the evening session, Marin Cilic recovered from losing the first set to American John Isner to win in three sets, and in doing so secured Novak Djokovic's place in the last four.

The last time Novak Djokovic played at the O2 Arena he suffered a chastening defeat at the hands of home hero Andy Murray which confirmed the end of his dominance at the top of the men's game.

He is some way short of the complete article - which Lendl might remind him from time to time - but he brings energy, attitude and flair to the court, and that is gold dust for a sport that can not rely on the magic of 37-year-old Federer or 32-year-old Nadal - who is not at this tournament - for many more years.

A second tiebreak arrived and just as in the day's first shootout, it was Zverev who jumped into a lead against an edgy Cilic who double-faulted at 1-4.

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"He obviously made a lot of unforced errors that allowed me to win, probably easier than expected". Djokovic saved it with a service victor but then double-faulted to give the 21-year-old another opportunity.

Zverev saved a pair of set points with an overhead smash and a bullet serve, but Djokovic wouldn't back down and a double-fault from the German finally surrendered the set.

It seemed to knock the stuffing out of Zverev, who was broken in the fourth game of the second set, and again to love in the sixth.

A series of blistering ground-strokes from the Serb kept Zverev pinned back and, while he battled gamely, the pressure eventually told as Djokovic broke.

The Croatian fifth seed had lost nine of his previous 10 matches at the Finals, and he looked in danger of another letdown when he dropped the first set against Isner.

"Certainly very close. It's devastating not just for me, but for a whole bunch of people".

Zverev had clearly read up on the scenarios to reach the semi-finals and waved his arms aloft in the air, knowing that even if he went on to lose Marin Cilic would need to beat world No. 1 Djokovic for the German to be eliminated. "Yeah, I mean, wasn't a great quality tennis match, to be honest, at least from the court". "I wish him well for the next two matches".

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