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Germany’s Zverev wins, Czech women’s pair bag gold

TOKYO: World No. 5 Alexander Zverev (pic) won the biggest title of his career when he crushed Russian Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-1 to win the men’s singles gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 24-year-old, who has yet to win a Grand Slam title, was in stunning form as he demolished Khachanov in 79 minutes to become the first German man to win a singles Olympic gold. Zverev, who secured a rare win over world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, was flawless throughout and grabbed an early break to cruise to a 3-1 lead in the first set.

There were no signs of any nerves as he broke Khachanov again and bagged the set when his opponent sent an easy volley wide on the German’s second set point.

Not even the loud protests of a handful of anti-Olympic demonstrators, booming into Centre Court through a bull horn, could distract Zverev as he broke the hapless Russian again in the second game of the second set.

Long criticised for his perceived mental weakness in big matches, including losing to Dominic Thiem in last year’s US Open final when he surrendered a two-set lead, Zverev proved the doubters wrong this time.

He remained in complete control, thundering backhand winners past his opponent who could only look on as he settled for silver.

Zverev became only the second German to win Olympic singles gold, matching Steffi Graff’s achievement at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Germany also won Olympic gold in the doubles with Boris Becker and Michael Stich at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Khachanov was competing in Tokyo as a representative of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) because the country was stripped of its flag and anthem for doping offences.

The top-seeded Czech team of Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova won gold in women’s doubles. The Czechs beat the Swiss team of Belinda Bencic and Viktorija Golubic 7-5, 6-1.

Bencic won gold in singles a day earlier by beating Czech player Marketa Vondrouova.

Laura Pigossi and Luisa Stefani of Brazil took the bronze in doubles. — Agencies

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