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Zverev Beats Rublev for Cincinnati Masters Title and Immediately Puts Focus on U.S. Open

By Ricky Dimon

Alexander Zverev is without question one of the three hottest players on tour–and quite simply one of the three best–going into the U.S. Open.

He is on an 11-match winning streak that includes a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics and the Western & Southern Open title. Sunday’s triumph in Cincinnati marked his fourth at the Masters 1000 level. Now Zverev heads to New York in search of a first Grand Slam winner’s trophy and–along with Daniil Medvedev–is expected to be a top challenger to Novak Djokovic.

“The U.S. Open is a week that everybody is looking forward to,” the fourth-ranked German said after beating Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-3 in the Cincinnati final. “I think Novak will be back. He’s obviously going to be the favorite, as well. But I think other guys are going to be in great shape…. I still have a lot of work ahead of me. I have to find my rhythm in New York, as well.

“I do think (Djokovic is) going to be playing incredible tennis there. He’s going to be fresh, and I think there is also other guys that are in very good form. I think Rublev is in very good form, Medvedev, (Stefanos) Tsitsipas…. All those guys are playing great tennis. It’s definitely going to be an interesting U.S. Open. I’m also looking forward to it because I know where I stand, I know how I’m playing, and I hope I can continue the work and hopefully play even better in New York.”

A better result than last year’s in Flushing Meadows would mean a title. Zverev fell one step short–and a mere two points short, in fact–when he lost to Dominic Thiem 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(6) in the 2020 championship match.

“Last year before the U.S. Open I didn’t expect (anything) from myself, to be honest,” the 24-year-old added. “Because first of all, we didn’t play any tournaments for six months, and second I had a pretty average Cincinnati tournament in New York. I was still finding my game during the U.S. Open last year, but it worked well for me; I was pretty close to winning it.

“But I’m looking forward to what’s in it for me this year, and we’ll see how it is once I arrive there.”

Last summer at Flushing Meadows marked Zverev’s first-ever major final appearance. He benefited from Novak Djokovic’s exit from the top half of the draw due to a fourth-round default. Now Zverev will be among those trying to prevent Djokovic from winning the calendar-year Grand Slam.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.