In a summer full of injuries, one can only hope that Alexander “Sascha” Zverev’s historic second Masters title will not be overshadowed by another.
Zverev coasted past Roger Federer in the Rogers Cup final, 6-3, 6-4, on Sunday in Montreal, handling Federer in the opening set before the 36-year-old picked up an injury of some sort in the second set. Federer’s serve and movement were compromised, leading to arm and knee theories, but most suggestions point to the back, which has famously caused him problems in the past.
After years of waiting on the Dimitrov/Nishikori/Raonic generation, Zverev is the first man to truly crack the dominance of the “Big Four” at the Masters 1000s. Adding to his maiden title in May at Rome over Novak Djokovic, Zverev has made serious history:
-1st to win Masters #2 since 14 Tsonga & then 08 Davydenko
-1st non-Big 4 man to win 2 Masters in a year since 07 Nalbandian
— Trenton Jocz (@TrentonJocz) August 13, 2017
For context, Zverev joins Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as the only active players besides the Big Four with multiple Masters crowns. The German is also up to five titles on the season, passing Rafael Nadal (though Nadal won a major) and equaling Federer for the ATP lead.
The loss is Federer’s first in a final this season, and his run in Montreal ends up resembling Djokovic’s last fall at the U.S. Open, in that his lackluster form was masked by a very weak draw, and he unfortunately was dealing with health issues by the end of it.
Federer last won the Rogers Cup back in 2006, and was seeking his first title in Montreal. The ATP and WTA alternate between Montreal and Toronto, and both of Federer’s titles came in Toronto, with the first coming in 2004. The Swiss legend did not play in four of the previous five Rogers Cups, absences which included both tournaments in Montreal.
Given Federer’s potential injury and Zverev winning titles in back-to-back weeks, it would not be a surprise to see both miss Cincinnati, where they each headline a quarter on the bottom half of the draw. Should one or both withdraw, it would add to the list of stars missing, which includes Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori. Nishikori hurt his wrist on Sunday and promptly announced he will withdraw and undergo further testing.
Federer barely mentioned his condition in press conference, but said he’d take a couple days to decide on playing Cincinnati after flying there on Sunday night:
Federer:"Felt good all week, some aches and pain that are normal when the body returns to hard court, need to see how I feel" #CoupeRogers
— Vanni Gibertini (@vgibertini) August 13, 2017
Murray is guaranteed to lose the No. 1 ranking a week from Monday. Nadal, who retained the year-to-date points lead as a result of Federer’s loss to Zverev, will take that spot unless Federer plays Cincinnati and gets to the semifinals. If Nadal wins just one match, Federer would need to reach the final. Both Federer and Nadal have emphasized the year-end rank is more important than striving for it momentarily during the season.