WASHINGTON: Germany’s Alexander Zverev dominated Japan’s Kei Nishikori, 6-3, 6-4, on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) 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 second-round match and a first-round meeting in May on his way to the Rome title, his third crown of 2017 after Montpellier and Munich.
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.
Nishikori was also tired after two long matches that finished after midnight because of rain.
Makarova into WTA final
Russian seventh seed Ekaterina Makarova outlasted French fifth seed Oceane Dodin 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to book a berth in women’s final against German fourth seed Julia Goerges, who dispatched compatriot Andrea Petkovic 5-7, 6-4, 7-5.
Makarova, being coached by Britain’s Nigel Sears, 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.