Alexander Zverev ended his 17-month title wait by beating Montrealer Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 6-3 to win the Cologne Indoors on Sunday.
Zverev had a decisive year in Grand Slam tournaments with his first semi-final at the Australian Open in January and his first final at the US Open last month, when he lost to Dominic Thiem.Zverev said he was thinking about this final almost constantly, and he credited it with improving his game in Cologne.“I had a very tough final in New York and, the next final I played here, I wanted to play my best tennis,” he said.
The German had not played in the final of any regular ATP Tour event until Sunday. Zverev’s previous title was at the Geneva Open on clay in May 2019 and he is now 12-8 in the career final.
Zverev broke Auger-Aliassime’s serve in the game’s opener to establish early control. Zverev broke in the second at 3-2 and saved two break points in his next service game to prevent a counterattack from the Canadiens.
Bond formed during training sessions
Auger-Aliassime is still awaiting his first career title after losing six finals in two seasons, all in straight sets. The three finals that the 20-year-old Canadian has played this year have been played on hard indoor courts.
WATCH | Felix Auger-Aliassime shoots 7 aces in the semi-finals:
“Once again in the final, it’s difficult,” said Auger-Aliassime. “It’s just hard to take so I don’t have much to say other than I’m disappointed with my overall level today and will try again. ”
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 be lifting a winner’s trophy very, very soon,” Zverev said.
The Cologne Indoors are the first of two new back-to-back tournaments the city is holding after the ATP schedule changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The second tournament in Cologne was already hosting qualifying matches ahead of Sunday’s final of the first tournament. It will star Zverev, former first row player Andy Murray and US Open quarter-finalist Denis Shapovalov.