Nitto ATP Finals: Alexander Zverev routs Rafael Nadal to begin title defense
Zverev exults after blowing out Nadal/Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Defending Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev made a statement in beginning defense of his championship, demolishing world number one Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-4 at the O2 Arena in London.

In beating Nadal for the first time in six career meetings, the German won a sterling 88 percent of points on his first serve, consistently overpowering the Spaniard with booming serves and monsterous forehands.

"This means so much , playing here again after winning my biggest title so far in my career here last year", Zverev said following his victory. "The whole thing was about the serve. Obviously when I play this aggressive tennis, when I play this way, it shows that I can play very well and beat the best players."

Defending champion puts in one of his finest performances to shock world number one

Zverev came out all guns blazing, clocking three serves at over 140 miles per hour in his opening service game. After testing Nadal's serve by pushing him to deuce, he registered more serves at the same mark, holding with ease before kicking his game into overdrive.

Mixing up his play, the German sent a low slice the world number one's way, thumped a crosscourt backhand that drew an error from the Spaniard and saw Nadal send a forehand straight into the net to take a 3-2 lead. He broke again with a pair of searing forehands for a 5-2 advantage.

Zverev was in top form throughout his victory over Nadal/Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press
Zverev was in top form throughout his victory over Nadal/Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Serving for the set at 5-2, Zverev continued to roll through his service games with little difficulty, dropping just four points on serve the entire set, steaming through the opening set in just 35 minutes while winning an incredible 87 percent of his first serve points.

The momentum carried through to the beginning of the opening set, Zverev just clipping the line with a forehand at 30-15, bringing up break point with a bruising backhand and sneaking in to finish the game off with a volley winner after battering Nadal with more forehands.

Double faults on consecutive points put the German in a hole for the first time all match on his serve, falling behind 0-30. After rallying bck to deuce, he fired down his seventh ace of the match to bring up game point and sealed the hold on the very next point for a 2-0 scoreline.

The incredibly powerful serving from the seventh seed continued as he slammed down a 141mph serve down the T to wrap up another quickfire service game. The match was nearly put out of reach in the very next game, Zverev holding a break point, Nadal responding with big serving of his own to stay in contact.

The remainder of the match went the way of the server, the German tested in the eighth game, Nadal reaching 30-30, but Zverev struck an inside-out forehand to bring up game point and bettered it with an audacious running forehand at full stretch registering at 105 miles per hour.

Nadal was overpowered as he opened his bid to claim the year-end #1 ranking/Photo: Tony O'Brien/Action Images via Reuters
Nadal was overpowered as he opened his bid to claim the year-end #1 ranking/Photo: Tony O'Brien/Action Images via Reuters

Serving for the match at 5-4, Zverev again had little trouble holding, capping a dominant performance in which he struck 12 forehand winners in the second set alone while losing just four points on his first serve for the entirety of the match while Nadal could only muster three forehand winners as compared to 13 errors.

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