Zverev beats Auger-Aliassime in Cologne to end title wait

Felix Auger Aliassime

Zverev downs hobbled Harris to make Cologne semi-finals

Top-Seed Alexander Zverev stopped Lloyd Harris, World No. 92 from South Africa, 6-4, 3-6, 6-0 while finishing second Roberto Bautista Agut also issued a bagel decider to sixth Hubert Hurkacz from Poland who came through 7-6 (4) 5-7, 6-0.

Canada s Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated Radu Albot 6-3, 6-0 to reach the last-four. Zverev's previous title was at the clay-court Geneva Open in May 2019 and he is now 12-8 in career finals.

The 22-year-old Rublev added the title in Russian Federation to trophies in Doha, Adelaide and Hamburg. Zverev has said he thinks nearly constantly about that final, and he credited it with raising his game in Cologne.

Zverev said he still thinks about it "20 to 25 times a day".

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Bautista Agut beat Auger-Aliassime 7-6 (3), 6-3 in last year's Davis Cup final in the only other meeting between the players.

"I struggled on the opening game on my serve, and since then everything went uphill", Auger-Aliassime said.

A classy Zverev concurred telling Auger-Aliassime: "You're not only going to win one title, but multiple titles in your career".

Zverev held at love with a service victor to move in front again, securing a break in game six to move closer to the finish line. Djere was leading 2-6 6-2 4-1.

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He saved five of six break points in the process of earning victory over the Canadian, the win moving Rublev ahead of Diego Schwartzman into eighth place in the battle to qualify for the season-ending tournament in London.

Cecchinato was looking to become the first Italian to win a title on home soil in 14 years but took solace in the fact that his run to the final would see him enter the top 100 in the rankings.

He handed a break back with consecutive double-faults but secured the first set in the next game and moved 4-2 up in the second to break Auger-Aliassime's resistance.

Before a crowd that included his father, Alexander Zverev, Sr., mother and stroke coach Irina Zverev, brother, Mischa Zverev and his beloved dog, Zverev closed in 79 minutes improving to 19-8 in 2020.

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