A look back at when Alexander Zverev and Stan Wawrinka, in a battle of youth vs. experience, faced off in the 2016 St. Petersburg Open final.
Starting 2015 ranked in the triple digits, Alexander Zverev of Germany cracked the Top 85 by the end of the year to be named the ATP Tour’s Star of Tomorrow.
The following season, the teenager continued his meteoric rise, reaching two singles finals over the summer and rising into the Top 30 by the fall. Playing his first tournament after the US Open, the St. Petersburg Open in Russia, the 19-year-old advanced to his third final of the year without dropping a set. His path to the championship match saw him notch straight-set wins over a mix of up-and-comers and veterans, including world No. 9 Tomas Berdych in the semifinals.
In the final, he would face the top seed, Stan Wawrinka. The world No. 3, fresh off his triumphant run at the US Open, also advanced to the last round behind a series of straight-set wins as he ran his winning streak to 10 matches.
While Wawrinka was going for his fifth title of the year, Zverev was playing in only his third career singles final—all of them in 2016. It was the 19-year-old, though, that started this match off strong, as he captured the opening set 6-2. Early in the second set, Wawrinka rallied from 1-1, 40-0, against Zverev’s serve to get the break. The Swiss was able to stay the course from there, winning the set 6-3 to level the match.
Far from discouraged about the shift in momentum against the three-time Grand Slam champion, Zverev stayed on even ground with his more experienced opponent through the bulk of the deciding set. With Wawrinka serving at 5-5, the German earned a break point, then clinched it after an extended baseline rally off an unforced error from the Swiss. Serving at 6-5, 40-15, Zverev whipped a forehand passing shot down the line past Wawrinka to earn the first title of his burgeoning career.
Zverev became the fourth male player from Germany to win a singles title this decade, after Tommy Haas, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Florian Mayer.
After going 4-9 in his first 13 career singles finals, Wawrinka had won 11 straight championship matches prior to losing this one.
The last teen to win a singles title was Marin Cilic in 2008, in New Haven.
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