Zverev Rallies Past Safiullin For Chengdu Crown

  • Posted: Sep 26, 2023

Zverev Rallies Past Safiullin For Chengdu Crown

26-year-old clinches first hard-court title since 2021 Nitto ATP Finals

Alexander Zverev completed a hard-earned title run on Tuesday evening in China as he claimed a 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 6-3 championship match win against Roman Safiullin at the Chengdu Open.

Zverev sealed his third three-set win in four matches at the ATP 250 by holding firm in the face of a clean-hitting display from Safiullin, who was competing in his maiden tour-level final. Zverev was two points from defeat at 5/5 in the second-set tie-break but he raised his level to seal a two-hour, 56-minute triumph and claim his 21st tour-level crown.

“He’s playing the best tennis of his life for sure,” said Zverev of Safiullin. “The way he was winning this week, I think he beat a lot of great players quite easily, so I knew that he was playing well. Obviously, I’m happy to be able to come back and to win this title.”

Safiullin had lit up Chengdu with a series of clean-hitting displays en route to the final and he did not let up for the championship match, striking 33 winners to his opponent’s 25. He saved three set points from 4-5, 0/40 to win the opening set, but the World No. 10 Zverev dialled in behind his big first serve and finished the stronger as he improved to 14-6 in tour-level finals on hard courts.

Zverev, who also triumphed in Hamburg and reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros earlier this year, is now 46-21 for the year after missing the second half of the 2022 season with a serious ankle injury. His victory on debut in Chengdu also boosted his standing in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin. Zverev is now in seventh place as he looks to return to for a sixth appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals, where he is a two-time champion.

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