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Alexander Zverev says US Open ‘very tough’ final defeat prompted him to wait 17 months for the title

Alexander Zverev says Dominic Thiem’s ​​’very tough’ US Open five-set loss prompted him to beat Felix Auger-Aliassime in Cologne and end 17-month title drought

  • Zverev’s last title came in Geneva in May 2019, when he beat Nicolas Jarry
  • Auger-Aliassime has lost all finals in which he participated in the ATP Tour
  • Zverev is now playing in another tournament in Cologne with Andy Murray

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

Zverev has had a breakout year in Grand Slam tournaments with his first Australian Open semifinal in January and his first US Open final last month, losing to Dominic Thiem. Zverev has said that he thinks about that final almost constantly, and he wrote that with increasing his game in Cologne.

“I had a really tough final in New York and the next final I played here 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 defeated Nicolas Jarry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zverev said he and Auger-Aliassime bonded while practicing together in Monaco during the coronavirus pandemic, and he predicted a bright future for the Canadian. “You’re going to take a winner’s trophy very, very quickly,” Zverev said.

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

The second tournament in Cologne already held qualifying matches before Sunday’s final in the first tournament. It features Zverev, former top player Andy Murray and US Open quarter-finalist Denis Shapovalov.

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