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Alexander Zverev cruised to a straight sets victory over Novak Djokovic to stun the world No. 2 and claim his first Masters-1000 title at the age of just 20.
Zverev produced inspired tennis from the very beginning and, unfazed by the occasion or who was across the net, he broke the Serb in the opening game of the match. The German youngster was fearless as he ripped his groundstrokes and hammered down his serves, allowing Djokovic no rhythm at all as he stormed to a 64 63 victory.
Djokovic had no answers to Zverev’s performance and was evidently frustrated as he struggled even to get a racket on the ball. He faced a challenge on almost all of his service games and was broken multiple times during the 81-minute encounter. As the pressure grew, the errors from the Djokovic racket increased.
“I made a lot of unforced errors. Started the match very poorly. Lost the break,” said Djokovic, who celebrates his 30th birthday on Monday. “Of course, against a big server like that, he gets a lot of confidence in his game. Basically from the beginning, it wasn’t the right match for me.”
Zverev is the youngest winner of the Rome title since Rafael Nadal in 2007 and will climb to a career-high ranking of No. 10 on Monday.
“I’m very happy the way I played. Very happy with my performance all week, actually. And especially today, I think today was one of the best matches I ever played maybe,” said Zverev, who was presented with his trophy by Australian tennis legend Rod Laver.
“You know, I knew I had to be aggressive from the first point on and to the last. It was very important for me to be able to stay this aggressive and don’t let him take over the game.”