Magnificent Zverev stuns Djokovic to claim first Masters title
Alexander Zverev blew Novak Djokovic away on the eve of the world number two's 30th birthday away to claim his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title with a flawless performance in the Internazionali BNL d'Italia final on Sunday.
Long been billed as one to watch, the 20-year-old German looks ready to realise his potential after dismantling 12-time grand slam champion Djokovic 6-4 6-3 in his first Masters final in Rome.
Djokovic had not dropped a set en route to the final at the Foro Italico, but the second seed did not have a solitary break point as the unflappable Zverev excelled to claim the biggest title of his fledging career
Zverev struck the ball with incredible power and showed maturity beyond his years, dominating the Serbian by backing up his outstanding serve with majestic backhand and forehand winners to deny him an early birthday present.
It took less than an hour for Djokovic to hammer Dominic Thiem – conqueror of Rafael Nadal – in the semi-final on Saturday, but it was a very different story on a glorious day as the 16th seed rose to the occasion to ensure he will move into the top 10 in the rankings.
Zverev broke in the first game of the match courtesy of a blistering forehand which four-time Rome champion Djokovic was unable to return at full stretch.
The immensely confident Zverev served with assurance and continued to strike the ball consistently deep, not giving a startled Djokovic a look-in.
Zverev served two aces to earn three set points and needed only 35 minutes to take the opener, with Djokovic only able to punch another booming serve into the net.
The ruthless Zverev won a tremendous rally with more heavy hitting in his first service game of the second set and broke for a second time after coming up with a brutal backhand prior to Djokovic netting to go 2-1 down.
Zverev nonchalantly wrapped up the victory, with Djokovic unable to add to his haul of 30 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles ahead of the French Open, hitting a backhand long after gifting the youngster championship point with a double fault.