Germany's Zverev wins Tokyo Games men's singles gold

He crushed Russian Karen Khachanov

  
Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Tennis - Men's Singles - Medal Ceremony - Ariake Tennis Park - Tokyo, Japan - August 1, 2021. Gold medallist Alexander Zverev of Germany on the podium.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Tennis - Men's Singles - Medal Ceremony - Ariake Tennis Park - Tokyo, Japan - August 1, 2021. Gold medallist Alexander Zverev of Germany on the podium.

Reuters/Stoyan Nenov

TOKYO- World number five Alexander Zverev won the biggest title of his career when he crushed Russian Karen Khachanov 6-3 6-1 on Sunday to win the men's singles gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 24-year-old, who has yet to win a Grand Slam title, was in stunning form as he demolished Khachanov in 79 minutes to become the first German man to win a singles Olympic gold.

Zverev, who secured a rare win over world number one Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, became only the second German to win Olympic singles gold by matching Steffi Graff's achievement at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

He was flawless throughout and never allowed his opponent to get a look-in as he grabbed an early break and cruised to a 3-1 lead in the first set.

There were no signs of any nerves as he broke Khachanov for a second time and bagged the first set when his opponent sent an easy volley wide on the German's second set point.

Zverev had struggled with a string of personal issues in the past few years as well as a messy change of management while also building a reputation of being a hugely talented player who fails to close out big matches.

But on Sunday not even the loud protests of a handful of anti-Olympic demonstrators, booming into Centre Court through a bull horn, could distract him as he broke the hapless Russian again in the second game of the second set.

Long criticised for his perceived mental weakness, including losing to Dominic Thiem in last year's U.S. Open final when he surrendered a two-set lead, Zverev proved the doubters wrong this time.

He remained in complete control, thundering backhand winners past his opponent who could only look on as he settled for silver for the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) when he sunk a forehand into the net on Zverev's first match point.

The German dropped to his knees, lifting his arms aloft and beaming with a big smile, knowing he had finally landed a big prize.

Khachanov has won all four of his ATP titles on hard courts but was without a chance against Zverev.

Khachanov was competing in Tokyo as a representative of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) because the country was stripped of its flag and anthem for doping offences.

Germany also won Olympic gold in the doubles with Boris Becker and Michael Stich at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta had secured the bronze on Friday after beating Djokovic.

(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff and Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar) ((karolos.grohmann@thomsonreuters.com; +491743343192;))


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