Nishikori faces Zverev in semis; Halep quits

Muscat Daily - - SPORTS -

Washing­ton, US - Top-ten ri­vals Kei Nishikori and Alexan­der Zverev ad­vanced to a semi­fi­nal show­down at the ATP and WTA Citi Open on Fri­day while sec­ond-ranked Si­mona Halep re­tired with heat fa­tigue.

Ninth-ranked Nishikori, the 2015 cham­pion on the Washing­ton hard­courts, saved three match points in a ten­sion-packed sec­ond set be­fore ral­ly­ing to beat 225th-ranked Amer­i­can 20 year old Tommy Paul 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 af­ter two hours and 40 min­utes.

"It was a great bat­tle," Nishikori said. "He al­most had it. Happy to win."

Zverev, a 20 year old Ger­man seek­ing his fourth ATP ti­tle of the year and ranked a ca­reer-high eighth, took only 57 min­utes to elim­i­nate Rus­sia's Daniil Medvedev 6-2, 6-4.

"I felt so good from the start," Zverev said. "It was a great match for me. It's just all com­ing to­gether now."

It will be the first ca­reer meet­ing be­tween Nishikori and Zverev. "I'm sure it's go­ing to be a tough match," Nishikori said. He has been play­ing re­ally well."

"Kei has been in the top ten for a long time now," Zverev said. "He's go­ing to be a tough test on the hard­courts."

The other semi­fi­nal sends US eighth seed Jack Sock - a 7-5, 64 win­ner over Cana­dian third seed Mi­los Raonic - against South African 15th seed Kevin An­der­son, who blasted 21 aces to de­feat 200th-ranked In­dian qual­i­fier Yuki Bham­bri 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, af­ter oust­ing top seed Do­minic Thiem on Thurs­day.

A day af­ter com­plain­ing that se­vere heat left her feel­ing "a bit dead," French Open run­ner-up Halep quit her quar­ter­fi­nal match in even more scorch­ing con­di­tions, al­low­ing Rus­sian sev­enth seed Eka­te­rina Makarova to ad­vance 2-6, 6-3, 1-0.

"It was just the heat. I felt a lit­tle bit sick and I couldn't con­tinue," Halep said. "I had a headache and I felt sick."

Top seed Halep broke Makarova three times to take the first set in 30 min­utes, but the Rus­sian bat­tled back to win the sec­ond set and broke to open the third be­fore Halep re­tired.

"The sun took so much en­ergy," Makarova said. "Af­ter the first set I started putting ice to my face be­cause it was burn­ing."

Halep, who de­fends her ti­tle next week in Toronto, played the day's first match three times this week, hit­ting the most hu­mid and swel­ter­ing con­di­tions. Or­gan­is­ers de­nied her re­quest for a late match on Fri­day.

Next for Makarova is a semi­fi­nal against 20 year old French Oceane Dodin. The other semi­fi­nal pits Ger­mans Julia Go­erges and An­drea Petkovic.


Kei Nishikori in ac­tion against Tommy Paul on Fri­day

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