Debuting at the World Tour Finals on Sunday evening, Alexander Zverev this week looks to further establish himself as one of the top players in the game and the leader of a post-Big 4 future. Just 20, he is already No.3 in the world and a multiple time Masters 1000 champion. His first opponent in Group Boris Becker will be Marin Cilic, who ended his season ranked No.5.
The highlight of Cilic’s season has to be his Wimbledon final, even if it did end in a fairly routine fashion for his opponent Roger Federer. While much of his success came on the faster surfaces in grass and indoor hard courts, he did also add a title in Istanbul to his name. “The year has been extremely consistent for me. I played great tennis and found the key in my own game to play at a good level almost every single week,” said the Croatian. “I had a lot of victories in the last six, seven months that have given me good confidence and obviously a good belief when I’m playing the top guys, which is very important here.” Cilic is only 2-4 against the top 10 this year and perhaps more worryingly is only 1-5 against the non-Federer opponents in his group, including winning just 1 of 4 matches against Zverev.
While not expected of a World No.3, Zverev’s bad runs at grand slams this year should not concern him too much when it comes to this event. He has shown himself to be more than capable of taking on the top guys in best of 3 already, with wins over Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic already in his career. 2-2 against Federer as well as the previously mentioned wins over Cilic suggest he is in good shape to live up to his ranking as one of the top 2 in his group. “I’ve had a great season. Winning two Masters is special for any player. The top four has been dominating that level of tournament.” he said.”Nobody has won two Masters in one year for 10 years, outside those big four. That’s a great achievement for me.”
Given Jack Sock’s status as a sizeable outsider, it feels like this match will be decisive in who qualifies for the semi finals along with Roger Federer, who seems a shoe-in unless something crazy happens.
Prediction – Alexander Zverev in straight sets