Alexander Zverev books semi-final berth at the ATP Finals
21-year old German Alexander Zverev secured his place in the semi-finals of the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals with a straight-set win, knocking American opponent John Isner out of the season-ending tournament. Zverev, in the process, became the first German since Rainer Schhuettler in 2003 to reach the semis of the ATP Finals.
The match started with Zverev, Isner and Marin Cilic all having a chance of joining world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in reaching the knockout stages from the Gustavo Kuerten group.
'Sascha' Zverev came into the match with 1-1 win loss record having beaten Cilic and subsequently losing to Novak Djokovic. Zverev won his final group match 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 to make the last four for the first time in his career.
Zverev has quickly risen to be one of the Tour's brightest young prospects after rising to fifth in the ATP rankings, reaching the quarter-finals at Roland Garos, and winning the third ATP Masters 1000 title of his career in Madrid this year, to add to the two which he had won in 2017.
The match started off with both players refusing to allow their service to be broken. Consequently, the set went to a tie-break, but not before Zverev was forced to save a set point in the 11th game. The tie-break proved to be a close affair with little separating the two players. At 5-5, Zverev hit a superb half volley bringing up set point. A costly unforced error of the forehand of the 6'10 American handed Zverev the all-important first set.
By now, Isner was already eliminated, as he needed to win this match in straight sets to have any chance of making it through to the semis after losing his opening two matches.
The second set was also equally competitive although the scoreline may indicate otherwise. Leading 4-3, Isner was broken, giving Zverev the opportunity to close out the match. It was curtains for the American as Zverev won his last service game without dropping a single point.
The 21 year old Zverev is the youngest person to make the semis since Juan Martin Del Potro and will be up against a resurgent Roger Federer in the semi-finals on Saturday.