Carlos Alcaraz loses to Alexander Zverev, Daniil Medvedev wins
Carlos Alcaraz suffered defeat in his first ATP final as Alexander Zverev fought back to win in Turin, Italy.
Wimbledon champion Alcaraz lost 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 6-4 to Germany’s Zverev, who won the event in 2018 and 2021.
It is the first time the 20-year-old Spaniard has lost three matches in a row since March 2021, when he was ranked outside the top 100 in the world.
In the other Red Group singles match of the day, third seed Daniil Medvedev defeated fellow Russian Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-2.
In the doubles, Great Britain’s Joe Salisbury and American partner Rajeev Ram made a successful start to their title defense with a 6-3 6-4 win over Australian Matthew Ebden and India’s Rohan Bopanna.
And Britain’s Neal Skupski and Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof – who are playing in their last tournament together – kicked off their campaign with a 6-3 6-4 win over Australians Jason Kubler and Rinky Hijikata.
Alcaraz strives for consistency
World number two Alcaraz missed last year’s tournament with an abdominal injury and was making his debut at the season-ending men’s event for the top eight players in the -world.
He was hampered by leg and back problems last month and lost his opening match at the Paris Masters on his return from injury.
His crisp form continued on Monday as he struggled for consistency on the hard fast indoor court against Zverev.
He found himself 3-1 up in the opening game before breaking back and fending off four break points in his next service game to take the German lead for the first time.
Zverev himself saved two set points to force a tie, but Alcaraz found some rhythm to win the opener.
However, the seventh seed Zverev responded immediately, breaking Alcaraz at the first opportunity as he forced a deciding set.
Zverev played the big points better throughout, saving five of six break points and hitting 16 aces before sealing victory with a service winner.
But there was a worrying moment for the German – who missed last year’s event while recovering from a serious right ankle injury sustained at the 2022 French Open – when he fell on his left ankle his near the end of the game.
“I didn’t twist my ankle. I slipped a bit. There was pain for a while and I don’t think any damage was done,” the ATP Finals website quoted Zverev as saying. “I hope not and we’ll see when it settles down. It’s nothing like Paris.”
Medvedev stops Turin losing run
World number three Daniil Medvedev was beaten in all three of his round-robin matches in Turin last year, losing all of them in third-set ties.
But the 2020 champion has started much better this time and was in dominant form against compatriot Rublev, whose growing frustration boiled over at times.
In a high-quality and draining first set played from the baseline, Medvedev broke in the seventh game but was then tested as he served for the next three set games.
The 2021 US Open champion had to save four break points – aided by brilliant reflexes at the net – and lost three set points with some loose play before eventually converting his fourth.
Medvedev ran away with the second, going to a double break after his opponent and good friend slipped on the court while reaching for a shot.
That left Rublev nursing his right hand after landing on it and sat with his head in his hands at the changeover, talking to himself and then venting his feelings on a bottle of water.
Medvedev covered victory quickly, serving out to love, to go to the top of the group above Zverev because he won in straight sets.
The ATP Finals sees eight of the year’s best men’s players split into two groups of four, with the top two qualifying for the semi-finals.
Novak Djokovic is the defending champion and won the year-end top ranking with a win over Denmark’s Holger Rune on Sunday.
The Serb is back in action on Tuesday when he takes on home hope Jannik Sinner (20:00 GMT), while Rune faces Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in the other singles match (13:30). in Green Group.