The 20-year-old Alexander Zverev was among the players to beat in 2017. The young German conquered the first Masters 1000 title in Rome and repeated that in Montreal to join Roger Federer on the season’s five ATP titles.
Zverev and Federer met in the Montreal final, and the youngster scored a 6-3, 6-4 triumph in 70 minutes. It was the Masters 1000 final with the most significant age difference since Montreal 2005, when Rafael Nadal ousted Andre Agassi.
Alexander became only the sixth U20 player with multiple Masters 1000 crowns in a single season. He joined Michael Chang, Andrei Medvedev, Marat Safin, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on that list. The German conquered at least five ATP titles in a single season as the fifth U20 player since 1990, the first since Novak Djokovic in 2007.
Zverev came to Montreal following the Washington title, rattling off ten straight victories and entering the top-7 for the first time in a career with those 1000 points. Unlike in Halle in June, Roger certainly was not at his best, serving at low speed and not moving well after struggling with a back injury.
Federer had problems with timing and settling for the shots, finishing the encounter with six winners from the court and 18 unforced errors. His backhand leaked big time as he mostly sliced from that wing, causing no trouble to Zverev.
Federer had some good serves, and things looked good after bringing Alexander to the net. However, he did not control the match, as Zverev kept the points on his racquet after 14 winners from the court and 16 unforced errors.
Alexander fended off all three break chances and secured one break in each set to move over the top and celebrate the title. After the first game, we saw a graphic showing Federer’s ball-hitting position in Montreal’s previous four encounters.
He took 47% of the strokes from inside the baseline and claimed 76% of the points at the net.
Alexander Zverev defeated Federer to lift second Masters 1000 crown in Montreal 2017.
That tactic could not work against Alexander.
Zverev kept Federer behind the baseline and gave him no opportunity to mix the game and change the rhythm with drop shots and net rushings. The Swiss finished the encounter with no volley winners, inviting Zverev to the net only a few times and not pushing the youngster out of his comfort zone.
Roger served at only 51%. To make things even worse, he had to cut down the speed from his initial shot in the closing stages, struggling with back problems that prevented him from serving faster. Zverev won 46% of the return points to earn those six break chances, dropping only 15 points in ten service games to mount the pressure on the other side.
They had a similar number of service winners, with Roger’s 19-18 lead. It was the winners from the field where Zverev outplayed his great rival, hitting 14 against Federer’s six. The German had more mistakes in the middle of the match but stopped on 16 unforced errors while Roger counted 18, missing equally from both wings.
Federer also had more forced errors, 11 to seven, and nothing stood on his side outside that slight edge in the service winners department. The youngster had a significant 49-36 advantage in the rallies up to four shots, proving how good his first groundstroke was and dominating the mid-range exchanges with a 12-6 lead.
Interestingly, Roger prevailed in the most extended rallies by 7-2. Still, that number was too small to impact the overall score.