Alexander Zverev upsets favorite Novak Djokovic at Tokyo Olympics

Alexander Zverev returns the ball during a Tokyo Olympics tennis match.
Alexander Zverev hits a return during his upset singles victory over Novak Djokovic on Friday.
(Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)

Novak Djokovic’s pursuit of a Golden Slam — titles at all four tennis Grand Slam singles events as well as at the Olympics — ended on Friday in the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympic tournament at Ariake Tennis Park.

Djokovic, who has won the singles championships at the Australian and French Opens and at Wimbledon this year and is ranked No. 1 in the world, was upset by Germany’s Alexander Zverev, who put on a shotmaking display in the third set. Zverev’s 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory put him in Sunday’s final against Karen Khachanov of the Russian Olympic Committee, who eliminated Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain 6-3, 6-3, in the first semifinal.

News, results and features from The Times’ team of 12 reporters who covered the Tokyo Olympic Games in the summer of 2021.

Aug. 8, 2021


Djokovic had a 22-match winning streak before losing to Zverev.

Steffi Graff remains the only tennis player to have achieved the Golden in one calendar year. She achieved that in 1988.

Zverev, who is ranked No. 5 in the world, reeled off an impressive array of passing shots to dominate the final set. He finished off the match with a backhand to the corner, then covered his face with his hands in apparent disbelief. He and Djokovic then embraced at the net. Zverev lingered on the court as if to savor a victory that was hard fought and played in punishing heat and humidity.