On this day: Alexander Zverev joins Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray on special list

On this day 12 months ago, Alexander Zverev added another notable title to his collection. After four Masters 1000 titles, the German became the Olympic singles champion in Tokyo after a great run. The 24-year-old prevailed over Novak Djokovic in the semi-final from 6-1, 3-2 down, gathering a boost and advancing into the gold medal clash. Novak lost the ground and dropped ten of the final 11 games to propel Alexander into the final. Zverev got a chance to fight for Germany’s first Olympic singles gold medal since Steffi Graf in 1988, facing Karen Khachanov in the title clash. Alexander took down his friend 6-3, 6-1 in an hour and 19 minutes for a notable trophy and one of the most cherished ones of his career. Zverev had the upper hand from start to finish and earned his 16th ATP title at 24. It was their fifth meeting and the third victory for Alexander, the first since Roland Garros 2018.

Alexander Zverev claimed the first singles Olympic gold for Germany since 1988.

Serving well throughout the tournament, Zverev dropped 11 points behind the initial shot against Khachanov. He fended off the only break chance and grabbed half of the return points. Alexander turned them into four breaks from eight opportunities and a clear edge on the court. The German had 40 winners and 15 unforced errors to control the pace. Zverev built the advantage in the shortest and mid-range rallies and stayed in front from start to finish to earn the gold medal. Both players served well in the opening two games to get their names on the scoreboard, and Alexander took charge with a smash winner in the third to open a 2-1 gap.

The German cemented the lead with a service winner in game four and fended off the first and only break chance at 3-2 to remain in front. Firing from all cylinders, Zverev held at 30 in game eight with an unreturned serve and clinched the opener when Khachanov sprayed a volley mistake in the next one. The German held at love at the beginning of the second set and opened a 6-3, 2-0 gap when Karen netted a forehand. Khachanov wasted game points at 0-3 and suffered a break following a lengthy exchange. Alexander closed the fifth game with a hold at love and sealed the deal at 5-1 to start a massive celebration.