Rome, Nov 18 (EFE).- Germany’s Alexander Zverev cruised past Hubert Hurkacz 6-2, 6-4 on Thursday to book a place in the ATP Finals’ last four and yet another match-up against top-ranked Novak Djokovic in a high-profile event.
By winning two of his three matches in the round-robin stage of this elite, year-end event in Turin, Zverev eliminated Hurkacz and Italian home-crowd favorite Jannik Sinner from semifinal contention.
The German world No. 3 came out on fire on Thursday, breaking Hurkacz’s serve twice en route to a 3-0 lead and only losing two points on his own serve in the first set.
Hurkacz put up a much better fight in the second set, winning his first four service games to take a 4-3 lead. But Zverev rallied from a 0-30 hole in the eighth game as part of a final three-game spurt to clinch the victory.
“Today was a tough match mentally because I needed to win, so I was 100 percent focused,” Zverev said afterward. “It was very up and down, and I’m happy to be through and win in straight sets. You can always improve.”
Next up for Zverev in Saturday’s semifinals will be Djokovic, in what will be their fifth meeting this year and fourth in one of tennis’ biggest events.
The Serbian won close matches at the Australian Open and the US Open, but Zverev rallied from a slow start to defeat Djokovic in the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics.
“The margins are always very small between the top players, but to win you have to do the details right. I hope I can do that on Saturday,” the German said.
The final round-robin match of the day pit Russian world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev, who had already qualified for the semifinals, against the 11th-ranked Sinner, whose hopes of reaching the weekend had already been dashed.
Even so, the two played one of the matches of the tournament thus far in front of a boisterous crowd at the Pala Alpitour in Turin.
Medvedev used his defense to devastating effect in the opening set against an opponent who appeared overwhelmed by the occasion.
But Sinner was another player from that point onward, using his blistering ground strokes to put the Russian under constant pressure.
After claiming the second set in a thrilling tiebreaker, the Italian appeared headed for victory when he broke serve in the fifth game and then grabbed a 4-2 lead with a love service hold.
But after Medvedev got the break back in the eighth game, the match came down to a third-set tiebreaker.
The Russian had to save two match points in that decider, but he finally clinched a 6-0, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (10-8) victory with a down-the-line backhand winner.
“It was tough. Mentally it was tough knowing the match was dead. But I didn’t want to lose my rhythm. I won the first set quite easily and I was like, let’s continue this way,” Medvedev said in an on-court interview. “The second set was about an hour or so and then it’s the third set. But you’re not going to not play the third set because I like to win, I don’t like to lose. I’m happy I won.”
Two final round-robin matches will be played on Friday, including a clash between Russian world No. 5 Andrey Rublev and Norwegian world No. 8 Casper Ruud that will determine Medvedev’s semifinal opponent. EFE