Alexander Zverev beats John Isner to set up semi-final with Roger Federer at ATP Finals
By Raz Mirza at London's O2 Arena
Last Updated: 07/12/18 10:28am
Alexander Zverev became the first German to reach the semi-finals of the ATP Finals since Rainer Schuettler after defeating John Isner in Group Guga Kuerten.
Zverev, Isner and Marin Cilic all stood a chance of joining world No 1 Novak Djokovic in reaching the knockout stages.
But 21-year-old Zverev, who defeated Cilic before losing his second round-robin match to Djokovic, matched Rainer Schuettler's feat from 2003 by making the last four for the first time in his career with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 victory on Friday.
Zverev has emerged as one of the Tour's brightest young stars after climbing to fifth in the world, reaching the French Open quarter-finals, and winning the third Masters 1000 title of his career in Madrid this year.
The German matched 6ft 10in American Isner serve for serve before he was forced to save a set point in the 11th game as we headed into a tie-break.
The breaker was tight and tense until Zverev redirected a half volley up the line in stunning fashion to bring up set point, and then a crucially-missed forehand from Isner was enough to hand his opponent the opener.
Isner needed to win in straight sets to have any chance of advancing, while Zverev was growing in confidence and he tightened his grip in the eighth game of the second set as he took his one break-point opportunity to hand him the chance of serving out for the match.
He soon wrapped up a comprehensive victory to become the youngest semi-finalist at the ATP Finals since Juan Martin del Potro in 2009 and set up a date with Roger Federer on Saturday.
Shot of the match
Oops, there it is! "So much pace that he gets from that double-hander," says Sky Sports' commentator Barry Cowan.
Who won the bet...
Zverev happy to get through
"I'm unbelievably happy to be in the semi-finals in the last tournament of the year," said Zverev. "John is such a tough opponent, the first set was unbelievably tight so I'm just happy to be through.
"We've had so many tight matches, this is only the second time we've played two sets, so it's always a tight affair.
"Maybe I know in those important moments what he's trying to do. But I came up with some great shots in the tie-break as well.
"I've played Federer many times in my short career and he's leading by one so I hope I can change that. It will be a very tough match."
I thought Zverev's focus was excellent today. I thought he did what he needed to do and he played the big moments so much better than John Isner in those little margins.
Greg Rusedski on Alexander Zverev
Novak Djokovic tops the group and he will take on Kevin Anderson in a repeat of the Wimbledon final on Saturday evening (8pm) exclusively on Sky Sports Arena, while Alexander Zverev faces Roger Federer on Saturday afternoon.
A. Zverev vs Isner: Match Stats
|85%||1st serve win percentage||73%|
|56%||2nd serve win percentage||65%|
|1/1||Break points won||0/1|
|10/11||Net points won||11/17|
|68||Total points won||56|
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