Germany's Alexander Zverev has won his maiden Grand Slam title, defeating Stefan Kozlov 6-3 6-0 in the Australian Open junior boys’ singles final on Saturday.
Zverev overcame a tentative start to the matchup between the top two seeds, winning the title in comprehensive fashion to go one better than his runner-up finish at last year’s French Open.
If 15-year-old Kozlov was suffering from nerves in his first Grand Slam tournament final, they didn’t show in the early stages as the American eased into the match with an easy service game.
Kozlov then had opportunities to break the powerful Zverev serve, but the world number one junior served three timely aces to bail himself out of a long game.
The pair overcame a cautious start to produce some majestic tennis, which included a 28-shot rally in the sixth game that saw Kozlov fend away four overhead smashes from the top seed before winning the point.
As the tempo lifted, so did Zverev. The 16-year-old broke Kozlov’s serve twice later in the opening set to claim it 6-3 in 38 minutes.
Zverev was unstoppable in the second set, much like he was in the third set of his semifinal with Australian Bradley Mousley, opening up a 2-0 lead with an early break.
Kozlov had a chance to break back, but on break point the American teenager hobbled after rolling his left ankle.
Following the medical timeout, the right-hander struggled as he was restricted by the injury to his left ankle.
It enabled Zverev to continue his charge towards the title, as a powerless Kozlov failed to win a game in the second set.
On championship point Zverev hit a forehand winner to leave Kozlov stranded at the net, raising both hands to the sky after capturing his first Grand Slam title in 77 minutes at Rod Laver Arena.
“It means a lot, I have been waiting for a Grand Slam victory for a long time.
“I was finalist at Paris, I was semis at US open,” said Zverev of his breakthrough win.
It capped off an impressive week for the German, as he lost only two sets for the entire campaign.
The victory also marked Zverev’s first win over Kozlov, with the American holding a 2-0 advantage prior to the match, although Zverev retired in their clash at Wimbledon last year.
“He wasn’t really nervous I thought, but I was really nervous playing in such a big arena for the first time, especially Rod Laver is something else,” said Zverev about playing in his first Australian Open final.
Zverev now turns his attention to a Challenger event in Adelaide before returning to the US with the hope of playing in qualifiers for the Delray Beach ATP event.
Beyond that he is content to just see what happens.