Mischa Zverev wins maiden ATP title

Kyrgios, Zverev – Puppies for Charity in Miami

He’s had to wait longer than most but Mischa Zverev finally has his first ATP Tour title after victory at the Eastbourne International on Saturday.

The 30-year-old Zverev, whose younger brother Alexander has become a top five player in the game, successfully employed an old-fasioned serve-and-volley approach to beat Lukas Lacko 6-4, 6-4 and become the eighth first-time winner on the ATP World Tour this year.

Zverev charged forward to cover nearly every shot Lacko hit at him, and the tactic successfully disrupted his opponent’s game.

Lacko’s unforced error count gradually grew as the match wore on, and a break early in the first set and another midway through the second proved to be all Zverev needed to secure the win.

To Lacko’s credit he never stopped fighting, and though the two break points he gave up ultimately sealed his fate, he did manage to save 10 others during Zverev’s relentless 97-minute onslaught.

For Zverev, the victory is a testament to perseverance. Three years ago, the German looked set for early retirement after suffering a brutal series of injuries, including a fractured wrist, two fractured ribs, a herniated disc in his lower back, and a tear in the patella tendon in his knee.

All that adversity made Saturday’s win all the more emotional for him.

With younger brother Alexander having also tasted success this season, it marks the first time siblings have lifted singles trophies in the same season since 1989, when Emilio Sanchez and Javier Sanchez managed to do it as well.