Alexander Zverev continued his recent impressive form at the Erste Bank Open, beating American Frances Tiafoe 7-5, 6-4 to clinch his fifth trophy of the year. The second seed, who moved past Felix Auger-Aliassime and Carlos Alcaraz en route to the final, was at the top of his game on Sunday. He won 80 per cent (37/46) of his first-serve points, as he continued to dictate on his forehand against Tiafoe to secure his victory in one hour and 36 minutes. The German has been on an impressive run of form lately, as he now holds a 25-2 record since Wimbledon. He has also extended his ATP Head-2-Head series lead against Tiafoe to 6-1.
“He didn’t let me play the way I wanted to play, tactically he was very good,” Zverev said. “But I am happy with the win and I am happy with my fifth title of the year and I am happy with my first in Vienna, so it was a good day. I think the Olympics gave me a lot of confidence and I believe I can compete for any title that I play in. I am happy with the form I am in but I have got two more massive weeks ahead of me and I hope I can do well.”
Notably, Zverev secured his 300th tour-level career win against Australian Alex de Minaur this week. The season has been one to remember for the 24-year-old player, who triumphed at ATP Masters 1000 events in Madrid and Cincinnati and also won the singles gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. It is interesting to note that Zverev has won all five finals that he has competed in this year. The only other time the World No. 4 won five tour-level crowns in a season was in 2017.
The match got off to a lively start, with both the players exchanging breaks. There was not much to separate between the two players. Zverev finally found the breakthrough in the 12th game of the first set to move ahead, as he saw out the set. The German was impressive with his serve in the second set, hitting eight aces to secure his victory.
“I knew I was capable of a week like this,” Tiafoe said. “It is not easy to beat good player after good player. These guys are so good. To have a week like this and know you can do it and not just beat one top player but three great guys is great.”
Marin Cilic survived a thriller to win the St. Petersburg Open on Sunday. The Croatian defeated American Taylor Fritz 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 to lift the trophy. Thereby, he became just the sixth active player to claim 20 tour-level titles. The only other male players to have achieved the feat are Roger Federer (103), Rafael Nadal (88), Novak Djokovic (85), Andy Murray 46) and Juan Martin del Potro (22).
The last time Cilic played in St. Petersburg prior to this week was in 2011 – when he also emerged victorious. “Coming 10 years after winning in 2011 and also winning now, it’s so, so special for me, especially this part of my career,” Cilic said during the trophy ceremony. “Having now a family, two sons, I want to absolutely dedicate this trophy to my newborn son.”