Western and Southern Open 2021: Alexander Zverev Defeats Andrey Rublev in Final

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 22, 2021

MASON, OHIO - AUGUST 22: Alexander Zverev of Germany holds the winner's trophy after beating Andrey Rublev of Russia during the men's singles finals of the Western & Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 22, 2021 in Mason, Ohio. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Alexander Zverev earned his first title at the Western and Southern Open with a comprehensive performance against Andrey Rublev on Sunday. 

Zverev cruised through the men's singles final to win the match, 6-2, 6-3, to create plenty of momentum heading into the U.S. Open, which begins on August 30. 

Tennis TV @TennisTV

From having never won a match in Cincinnati to winning the title - all within one week 🏆 The moment @AlexZverev captured his maiden #CincyTennis title with a 6-2 6-3 triumph over Andrey Rublev! https://t.co/s2QoKdhOlq

The third-seeded Zverev won five matches in five days to pick up his fifth championship at a Masters 1000 event. 

Western & Southern Open @CincyTennis

🏆 #CincyTennis | @AlexZverev https://t.co/ZL4fxHdLjH

Zverev has two Masters 1000 victories from Madrid, one from Italy, one from Canada and now one from the tournament based in Cincinnati. 

ATP Tour @atptour

🏆 2017 Rome 🏆 2017 Montreal 🏆 2018 Madrid 🏆 2021 Madrid 🏆 2021 Cincinnati Make that 5️⃣ ATP Masters 1000 titles for @AlexZverev! #CincyTennis https://t.co/Mpcn25HBkw

The 24-year-old German needed just 27 minutes to gain a one-set edge over Rublev. The entire championship match lasted 59 minutes. 

ATP Tour @atptour

The quickest men's final in recorded tournament history (59 minutes) 🕒 @AlexZverev | #CincyTennis https://t.co/o8svkkXqbI

The Western and Southern Open champion moved closer to the trophy by earning a break at the start of the second set. 

Tennis TV @TennisTV

Upping his level in the finals... @AlexZverev having a complete performance as he leads Rublev by a set and a break in the Cincinnati final #CincyTennis https://t.co/Ws97GWeUWv

After he picked up the break, Zverev just needed to remain on serve to finish off the contest against the fourth-seeded Russian.

Sunday's match was much easier for Zverev than Saturday's semifinal in which he took down Stefanos Tsitsipas in three sets. 

Zverev's semifinal victory was his only three-set win of the tournament. He worked past Casper Ruud, Guido Pella and Lloyd Harris in straight sets to reach the final four. 

The form displayed in Cincinnati was a continuation of what we saw out of Zverev in the gold-medal match of the Tokyo Olympics. 

José Morgado @josemorgado

I guess that’s how you back up the biggest title of your life https://t.co/MArkHf5EFh

Zverev's wins in Japan and Ohio set him up for the best possible chance to succeed at the U.S. Open, where Novak Djokovic will be the favorite to win.

With Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and reigning champion Dominic Thiem out of the final Grand Slam tournament, Zverev and some of the other young stars of the men's game have a clearer path to the final. 

Zverev reached the U.S. Open final a year ago, but he lost to Dominic Thiem. That tournament was marred by Djokovic's disqualification.

If Zverev continues to play at such a high level on the hard courts, he could pose a challenge to Djokovic if they meet in New York.