Alexander Zverev wins first career Western & Southern Open title

Two items will likely forever adorn Alexander Zverev's 2021 summer. The first is fairly obvious: the Olympic gold medal he won a few weeks ago in Tokyo. 

The second arrived Sunday, placed in the 6-foot-6 German's capable hands as the sun began to set in Mason, Ohio.

Zverev hoisted the Rookwood Cup high overhead on Center Court at the Lindner Family Tennis Center, moments after a 6-2, 6-3 win over Andrey Rublev in the Western & Southern Open final. 

With the win, Zverev becomes the first player to win the Olympic gold medal and the W&S Open title in the same year since Andre Agassi in 1996. 

How was Zverev able to back up his Olympic gold with a title in Cincinnati? 

"I went back to work. I went back to practice in Monaco," he said. "I was preparing for this tournament. I'm very happy to have this trophy now." 

Alexander Zverev, of Germany, celebrates with the Rookwood Cup after defeating Andrey Rublev, of Russia, 6-2, 6-3, during the Western & Southern Open tennis finals match on Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021, in Mason.

Playing against his childhood friend and junior doubles partner, Zverev, the No. 3 seed, started the first set and the second set the same way, with a break of Rublev's serve. 

"Breaking him in the beginning, that did help for me because the match kind of went my way after that," Zverev said. "And, yeah, I mean, look, he's an incredible player. Once he gets into a rhythm, once he gets into a match, he's extremely difficult to beat because he has the shots to beat anyone. He showed that yesterday. So I knew that I had to -- once I was up and ahead, I needed to kind of keep pressing and keep going forward, and I did that well today." 

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