Zverev rips Nishikori, faces An­der­son for ti­tle

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Ger­many’s Alexan­der Zverev dom­i­nated Ja­pan’s Kei Nishikori 63, 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, 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. Zverev is 2-0 against An­der­son, win­ning a 2015 Wash­ing­ton sec­on­dround match and a first-round meet­ing in May on his way to the Rome ti­tle, his third crown of 2017 after Mont­pel­lier and Mu­nich.

“It’s go­ing to be a tough match. Alex has had a great year,” An­der­son said. “For me it’s re­ally fo­cus­ing on things I can do and play­ing the best I can.” An­der­son reached his first fi­nal since win­ning his third ca­reer ATP ti­tle in 2015 at Win­stonSalem. 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.”

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