Zverev ends 17-month title drought after drawing on US Open pain

Alexander Zverev says ‘very tough’ five-set US Open final loss by Dominic Thiem spurred him on to defeat Felix Auger-Aliassime in Cologne and end 17-month title drought

  • Zverev’s last title came in Geneva in May 2019 when he defeated Nicolas Jarry
  • Auger-Aliassime has lost all of the finals he has competed in on the ATP Tour 
  • Zverev will now play in another tournament in Cologne featuring Andy Murray 

Alexander Zverev ended his 17-month wait for a title by drawing on the pain of his US Open final defeat by beat Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 6-3 and win the Cologne Indoors on Sunday.

Zverev has had a breakthrough year in Grand Slam tournaments with his first semi-final at the Australian Open in January and first final at the US Open last month, when he lost to Dominic Thiem. Zverev has said he thinks almost constantly about that final, and he credited it with raising his game in Cologne.

‘I had a very tough final in New York and, the next final I played here, I wanted to come out and play my best tennis,’ he said.

Alexander Zverev’s last title came at the Geneva Open in May 2019 when he beat Nicolas Jarry

Zverev was distraught after losing a five-set thriller to Dominic Thiem in the US Open final

The German hadn’t played the final of any regular ATP Tour events in 2020 until Sunday. Zverev’s previous title was at the clay-court Geneva Open in May 2019 and he is now 12-8 in career finals.

Zverev broke Auger-Aliassime’s serve in the first game of the match to establish early control. Zverev broke in the second at 3-2 and saved two break points in his next service game to hold off a fightback from the Canadian.

Auger-Aliassime is still waiting for his first career title after losing six finals in two seasons, all of them in straight sets. All three of the finals that the 20-year-old Canadian has played this year have been on indoor hard courts.

Felix Auger-Aliassime, 20, has been in six ATP Tour finals in his career and has lost all of them

Zverev said he and Auger-Aliassime had bonded while practising together in Monaco during the coronavirus pandemic, and he predicted a bright future for the Canadian. ‘You’re going to be lifting a winner’s trophy very, very soon,’ Zverev said.

The Cologne Indoors is the first of two new back-to-back tournaments the city is hosting after the ATP calendar was modified due to the pandemic.

The second Cologne tournament was already holding qualification matches before Sunday’s final in the first tournament took place. It will feature Zverev, former top-ranked player Andy Murray and US Open quarter-finalist Denis Shapovalov.

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