The Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) — The past champions whose names line the grandstands at the Citi Open include Andre Agassi (five times), Jimmy Connors, Stefan Edberg and Ivan Lendl.
On Sunday, Alexander Zverev showed he may one day belong among such exalted company.
The 20-year-old rising star from Germany picked up early breaks in each set and was never challenged on his serve in a 6-4, 6-4 victory over South African veteran Kevin Anderson on Sunday for his fourth ATP title of the year. That matches Rafael Nadal’s victory total this season and trails only Roger Federer’s five.
The eighth-ranked Zverev dropped his opening set in Washington and had to survive a third-set tiebreaker to avoid an upset in the first round. He didn’t lose a set after that opening match against Jordan Thompson and grew stronger as the tournament went on, having little trouble with the hot and humid conditions or the late nights brought on by rain delays.
“I feel like the longer the tournament gets, the better I start to play,” Zverev said.
The title was Zverev’s first of his career on an outdoor hardcourt and gives him momentum heading into the U.S. Open, which starts Aug. 28.
Anderson, 31, came in with a tournament-best 62 aces, but Zverev got enough first serves back to give himself ample break opportunities. Zverev broke Anderson early in each set and never faced a break point on his own serve.
He played with little fear, ripping hard, flat cross-court backhands that caught Anderson off-balance. Serving at 4-3, 0-15 in the first set, Zverev hit a 203-kph second serve for a winner, and then followed it with a 194-kph first-serve ace.
Zverev’s previous titles this year came at a Masters event on clay in Rome, along with wins on clay in Munich and on indoor hard courts in Montpellier, France.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins a few Grand Slams, at any rate,” Anderson said. “That’s definitely what the path looks like right now.”
Zverev’s father, Alexander Sr., is a former tour pro from Russia who now coaches Alexander and his older brother, Mischa, who currently is ranked 26th. The family moved to Germany in 1991.
“It’s quite amazing what we’ve achieved,” Zverev said to his father during his victory speech. “You might be the best coach in the history of tennis.”
Meanwhile, Ekaterina Makarova of Russia rallied to beat Julia Goerges of Germany 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-0 to take the women’s title.
It was the third career title for the 58th-ranked Makarova, 29, and her first since 2014. Goerges was seeking her first title in six years.
Keys claims Bank of West title
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Third-seeded Madison Keys outslugged No. 6 CoCo Vandeweghe 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 on Sunday to win the Bank of the West Classic in a thrilling display of power and serving by the two young American stars in their first career matchup.
Keys won her third career singles title and first on hardcourt playing under cloudless skies at Stanford. She finally got her chance by rallying back to deuce in the ninth game of the second set, when Vandeweghe surrendered her first service game after she saved two break points moments earlier. Vandeweghe hadn’t dropped a set all tournament until the final.
Keys, who missed the first two months of the season following surgery on her left wrist, eliminated Wimbledon champion and top-seeded Garbine Muguruza 6-3, 6-2 in just 57 minutes Saturday night to snap Muguruza’s nine-match winning streak and advance to her first final this year.
The 22-year-old Keys had never won a championship on home soil.