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Zverev zips past Nishikori, into Citi Open final

Reuters

Kei Nishikori reaches for a backhand during his semifinal match against Alexander Zverev at the Citi Open in Washington on Saturday.

AFP WASHINGTON (AFP-Jiji) — Germany’s Alexander Zverev dominated Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-4 Saturday in a showdown of top-10 rivals to reach the ATP and WTA Citi Open final against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson.

Zverev, ranked a career-best eighth this week, dropped only seven points on his serve and never faced a break point in the 63-minute affair, extending ninth-ranked Nishikori’s ATP title drought to 30 events over 18 months.

The 20-year-old from Hamburg will try for his fifth career title and fourth of the year Sunday against 45th-ranked Anderson, who ousted 19th-ranked American Jack Sock 6-3, 6-4 on the Washington hardcourts.

“Getting the hardcourt season started with a win would be great,” Zverev said.

Zverev dominated from the start, winning the first 10 points and 12 of the first 13, with Nishikori netting a backhand to surrender a decisive break at love in the second game. Both men held from there, Zverev taking the first set in 28 minutes.

Zverev hit a forehand winner to break for a 2-1 lead in the second set and held to the finish, claiming victory when Nishikori netted a forehand.

“I played a great match,” Zverev said. “I started 3-0. That helped the confidence. I played really well.”

Zverev, whose fourth-round Wimbledon run was his Grand Slam best, won 31-of-33 first-serve points, all 13 in the first set, and 9-of-14 on his second serve.

Anderson reached his first final since winning his third career ATP title in 2015 at Winston-Salem. The lanky 31-year-old from Johannesburg also won at Delray Beach in 2012 and his hometown in 2011.

Nishikori, the 2015 Washington champion, last raised a trophy at Memphis in February 2016, a run that includes six finals losses.

“I don’t feel like last year yet, but I feel like if I keep playing my best tennis it will come back,” Nishikori said.

Nishikori was also tired after two long matches that finished after midnight because of rain.

“Just a bit tough this week,” Nishikori said. “I had two matches finish at 2 a.m. It wasn’t easy to go to sleep.

“It’s not the same when you go to sleep at 4 a.m. It has been a little bit crazy.”

Meanwhile, Russian seventh seed Ekaterina Makarova outlasted French fifth seed Oceane Dodin 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to book a berth in the women’s final against German fourth seed Julia Goerges, who dispatched compatriot Andrea Petkovic 5-7, 6-4, 7-5.

Makarova seeks her first WTA title since 2014 at Pattaya City and third overall. She won her only meeting with Goerges, who took the most recent of her two titles in 2011 at Stuttgart, in the fourth round of the 2015 Australian Open.

Kohlschreiber claims 8th crown

KITZBUHEL, Austria (AFP-Jiji) — German Philipp Kohlschreiber claimed the eighth ATP Tour title of his career by brushing aside Joao Sousa in the final of the claycourt Generali Open on Saturday.

The 33-year-old eased to a 6-3, 6-4 victory over his Portuguese opponent, who remains without a tournament win since 2015.

Kohlschreiber had lost his two previous finals, but he recovered from a break down in the opening set with four straight games.

It was Kohlschreiber’s first title since winning on the Munich clay in May 2016, and he will move up six places from No. 47 in the new world rankings on Monday.Speech

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