Zverev dom­i­nates An­der­son to win Citi Open

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY BEN NUCKOLS

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 hard court 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 127mph sec­ond serve for a win­ner, and then fol­lowed it with a 121-mph 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.”

Seek­ing his fourth ca­reer ti­tle and first since 2015, An­der­son looked shaky early, dou­ble-fault­ing twice and sur­viv­ing two break points in the open­ing game. Serv­ing at 15-40 at 1-1 in the first set, An­der­son hit a short ball deep to Zverev’s back­hand. Zverev got it back and An­der­son hit an over­head into the net.

In the sec­ond set, an er­ror by An­der­son at 30-40 in the first game gave Zverev an­other break, and the Ger­man was hardly chal­lenged from there.

“I was pretty happy with the way I played,” An­der­son said. “Didn’t even get a break point today. He played well with hav­ing that lead in those two sets.”

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.”

Women’s fi­nal

Eka­te­rina Makarova of Rus­sia ral­lied to beat Ju­lia Go­erges of Ger­many 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-0 to take the women’s ti­tle in a draw that lost much of its star power when sec­ond-ranked Si­mona Halep re­tired be­cause she felt ill in the Wash­ing­ton sum­mer heat.

Makarova and Halep were tied at a set apiece when Halep re­tired in their quar­ter­fi­nal match. The 58th-ranked Makarova went on to beat Oceane Dodin in the semi­fi­nals.

On Sun­day, Go­erges won the first set eas­ily and was down a break in the sec­ond be­fore she won three straight games, two of them on Makarova’s serve, to give her­self an op­por­tu­nity to serve for the match. But she failed to close it out and, after an er­ror-filled tiebreak, didn’t win an­other game, fre­quently scowl­ing and ges­tur­ing to­ward the grand­stand.

It was the third ca­reer ti­tle for Makarova, 29, and her first since 2014. Go­erges was seek­ing her first ti­tle in six years.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Alexan­der Zverev cel­e­brates his win over Kevin An­der­son in the fi­nals of the Citi Open on Sun­day in the District. Zverev won, 6-4, 6-4, for his fourth ATP ti­tle of the year.

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