‘Incredibly emotional’ Zverev ends title drought in Hamburg

HAMBURG: Germany’s Alexander Zverev swept past Serb Laslo Djere in straight sets for his first title in nearly two years at his home Hamburg Open on Sunday, boosting his hopes of qualifying for the season-ending ATP Finals.

The former world number two won through 7-5, 6-3 in just under two hours for his first title since the 2021 ATP Finals and the 20th of his career.

“It’s almost like a first title again,“ said Zverev. “It’s such a long time, 18 months, and I’m just super happy right now.”

Sunday was the 26-year-old’s first final since Madrid in May 2022 just weeks before he suffered a serious ankle injury in his French Open semi-final against Rafael Nadal.

“At the end of the day, this is my home, this is where I grew up, and this where I started playing tennis,“ said Zverev.

“It was incredible for me, incredibly emotional. I can’t describe it in words, I’m just super happy right now.”

The fourth seed proved too powerful for Djere, converting three of his four break point chances, to claim his third victory in as many meetings with the Serb, and the title without dropping a set.

He became the first German since Michael Stich in 1993 to win on the Hamburg clay.

A two-time ATP Finals champion, Zverev has risen three spots to ninth in the ATP Race To Turin, but Taylor Fritz can reclaim ninth place with victory in the Atlanta Open later on Sunday.

However, he praised Djere, the world number 57 who was bidding for his third title.

“I think he was the much better player throughout the first set. I just kind of stuck with it and dug it out somehow,“ added Zverev.

“Credit to him, he’s one of the most respected guys on Tour, he’s doing all the right things. At the end, I’m just happy that it went the way it went.” – AFP