Zverev stunned at Basel, ATP Finals spot at risk

Second-seeded Alexander Zverev was eliminated in the first round of the Swiss Indoors on Tuesday, losing 7-6 (7), 6-4 to Taylor Fritz.

Zverev led 4-0 in the first-set tiebreaker and later held a set point before Fritz took his opportunity to clinch it with an ace.

The 31st-ranked American got the only service break of the match in the third game of the second set and converted his first match point with a two-handed backhand winner.

The defeat rules out a possible final against top-seeded Roger Federer, who part owns the agency which manages the sixth-ranked German’s career.

The loss also harms Zverev’s chances of defending his ATP Finals title next month.

He is seventh in the season-long standings to progress to the eight-man event in London.

The German’s defeat to the 21-year-old American came barely a week after defeat in the Shanghai Masters final to Daniil Medvedev and puts his chance of defending his ATP Finals title in London at risk. “I was completely flat for some reason,” he said. “I was tired and not focused at all. It was a weird feeling.”

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Zverev conquered the season-ending tournament last November, beating Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic back-to-back.

The season points race will be determined next week at the Paris Masters as the last two of the eight spots are decided.

“The way I played today, in my current mental stage, I’m not going to beat anybody,” Zverev, ranked seventh in the world, said.

“I’m very disappointed but it’s more about myself than the result.”

Zverev, a semi-finalist last year in Basel, fought hard to take the opening set into a tiebreaker, but was overwhelmed in the second by his American adversary in 86 minutes.

“Normally I really enjoy it on court, the tough moments, the fighting,” Zverev said. “But today I was completely out of it. I may go home for a few days and clear my mind. I’ll try to do well in Paris and hopefully make it to London.”

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