2021 in Review: Alexander Zverev battles past Denis Shapovalov to set Djokovic clash

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2021 in Review: Alexander Zverev battles past Denis Shapovalov to set Djokovic clash

Alexander Zverev spent almost three hours on the court in his season's opener, defeating Denis Shapovalov 6-7, 6-3, 7-6 to seal the deal for Germany against Canada at the ATP Cup. In the first match, Jan-Lennard Struff ousted Milos Raonic 7-6, 7-6 in two hours, and Alexander stayed on the court for an additional hour to overpower Canada's leading player and put Germany at the top of the group standings alongside Serbia.

Alexander hit 39 winners and 34 unforced errors, fending off all four break chances and delivering one break in set number two that forced a decider. The German wasted many return chances in the final set before finding a way to bring the victory home in the tie break.

Alexander Zverev ousted Denis Shapovalov after almost three hours at ATP Cup.

Both players made a terrific start behind the initial shot and reached 4-4 in the first set in swift 25 minutes. A left-hander saved a break point in game 11 with a booming serve and fired a forehand down the line winner at 4-3 in the tie break to gain the advantage.

Denis secured the breaker and the set in the 12th point for a massive boost ahead of set number two. Alexander bounced back with a break at 2-1 in set number two thanks to a backhand return winner and saved break points in games five and seven to remain in front.

The German clinched the set with a smash winner at 5-3 to bring a decider and gather momentum. Giving his best to stay on the positive side despite shoulder issues, Shapovalov wasted a break point in game two and saved three break chances at 2-2 for an important hold.

Zverev squandered two more break points at 3-3 and stayed calm at 4-5 to bring the game home at love and extend the drama. Denis denied two break chances with strong hitting at 5-5 and opened a 3-1 lead in the tie break. The Canadian netted a forehand in the fifth point, and the German locked the result at 3-3 with a powerful serve.

Denis hit a costly double fault at 3-4, and Alexander sealed the deal with two aces at 6-4 to emerge at the top and set a deciding clash against Novak Djokovic.