Alexander Zverev has hit the ground running at the ATP Finals with a 7-6, 6-3 victory over Diego Schwartzman in the second round of the season-ending championships on Monday, setting up a last-16 clash with Kei Nishikori.
“I tried to set a good example. I tried to stay out of the hard, stiff situations and try to serve as fast as possible. This game plan worked pretty well,” said the 22-year-old, who was on court for only 58 minutes.
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After defeating Andy Murray in the qualifying round, Zverev will now face seventh seed Nishikori, who beat David Goffin 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the first round.
In what is the first time in 12 years that the tournament will be held in London, Zverev is the only player remaining from the top 10. That the 23-year-old will be able to compete at the final point of the season will be a significant boost for German tennis.
Alexander Zverev’s rise to No6 could make it an opportune moment for German tennis – Lott (@KickLegitCleveland) September 3, 2017
“It’s great timing,” he told a news conference. “I’m in a position to be able to make it hard for the young guys to break through. I think having Andy back gave me a lot of weight. Now I don’t have that weight but I still have a lot of experience and I feel very comfortable here. I will stay focused on my game until the very end. I hope I can win one more match.”
German tennis had been keen to get the tournament on home soil following disappointing results at Paris and Paris Masters.
Andreas Seppi, Florian Mayer, Tommy Haas and Philipp Kohlschreiber have all been in the singles draw and their absence means Germany will have just one contender – with Kevin Anderson guaranteed to make it to the third round – if Zverev reaches the finals.