Alexander Zverev suffers more ATP Cup misery; Team U.S. lose again

Alexander Zverev (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Alexander Zverev (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images) /

Alexander Zverev was visibly distressed as he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas, but Germany still managed to win their tie. The United States were not so lucky.

Stefanos Tsitsipas thrashed Alexander Zverev at the ATP Cup as the German’s miserable start to 2020 continued.

Zverev was angry and frustrated as he suffered a 6-1 6-4 defeat to Tsitsipas in only 73 minutes, the Greek bouncing back nicely from his loss to Denis Shapovalov.

On Day 1 of the tournament, Zverev had thrown away a commanding position to lose against Alex de Minaur, serving 14 double faults.

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This time, it was not even close. Zverev’s serve was problematic again, with him making just 45% of his first serves and adding a further 10 double faults in a convincing defeat.

After smashing his racket in the loss to De Minaur, the 22-year-old flung it away twice in this match and covered his face with his hands at one stage, appearing to be emotional after one of his service struggles.

Zverev also had animated exchanges with Germany captain Boris Becker and his father during two changeovers. His form and demeanour will be concerning for his fans with the Australian Open only two weeks away.

There was some relief for Zverev as his Germany teammates rescued the tie to win 2-1, an epic match tiebreak in the decisive doubles clash finishing 17-15.

But he has now lost five consecutive matches against Tsitsipas, one of his main rivals in the group trying to chase down the Big Three of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in 2020.

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“My serving isn’t back yet, simple as that,” Alexander Zverev said after the match.

“I’m doing double faults. I’m serving 120 kilometers an hour, that’s not really going to cut it.

“I just need to get it back somehow. It’s just practising and maybe going on the court and doing a little bit more of that.

“I have two weeks until the Australian Open and I hope I can get it back until then, but right now it’s at a level where it’s not going to do it for me.”

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Alexander Zverev did not play the Davis Cup at the end of last season and instead took part in a series of exhibitions with Federer in South America.

He also played the Swiss star in China after Christmas, but that preparation does not seem to have been enough as he suggested after the De Minaur loss that his lack of practise time had been an issue.

After their shock defeat to Norway on Day 1, Team United States were beaten 2-1 again, this time by Russia.

Taylor Fritz put up a brave fight against Karen Khachanov, the Russian eventually winning 3-6 7-5 6-1.

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And the U.S. had their fate sealed when John Isner was humbled by Daniil Medvedev, the world number five only needing one hour to win 6-3 6-1.

“I got my ass kicked out there,” said an honest Isner, who had previously let two match points slip away against Casper Ruud in the loss to Norway.

“He did what he does well, which is make a lot of balls, that’s kind of how he was playing last year.

“I wasn’t even close. Generally, with my game, I can keep matches close and make it depend on a few points here or there, but that wasn’t the case.

“I didn’t quite serve as well as I needed to, there’s no doubt. I can certainly serve better.”

The U.S. will play Italy in their last Group D match. USA, Moldova and Greece are the only three nations who presently have an 0-2 record.

John Isner congratulates Daniil Medvedev
John Isner congratulates Daniil Medvedev (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images) /

A superb tournament so far for hosts Australia continued as they defeated Canada 3-0 and became the first team to reach the Final 8.

Nick Kyrgios was out with a back injury but John Millman and De Minaur still defeated highly rated young stars Felix Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov respectively, meaning the tie was sealed even before Australia won the doubles.

Italy, Great Britain and Bulgaria all beat Norway, Belgium and Moldova respectively by a 2-1 scoreline.

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Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are back in action on Day 4, with Spain playing Uruguay and Serbia taking on France.