Yanks Out of Finals at Washington’s Citi Open: Paul Shines, Sock Reaches Semis

Kevin Anderson, pictured on August 4, 2017, is through to the final of the Citi Open

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Tommy Paul’s great run at Washington’s Citi Open tennis tournament was stopped in a thrilling three-set quarterfinal match Friday by former champion Kei Nishikori, who adjusted his legendary defensive finesse to full-bore when down a set and 4-5 in the second.

The second seeded Nishikori, No. 9 in the ATP ranking, dug in and edged Paul 10-8 in the ensuing tiebreak. The third set was anticlimatic, but Tommy Paul comes away knowing the only thing lacking in his all-around high-energy game is the experience and resilience that comes with practice. At 20, and with only a few Tour-level matches under his belt, the world No. 225 can take satisfaction in a week of wins over France’s Lucas Pouille, ATP rank 17, and Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller, ATP rank 21.

Jack Sock lasted a round longer than his compatriot from New Jersey, with a gritty win over Milos Raonic in the quarters on Friday, but he wilted on Saturday afternoon under the service cannonades of South Africa’s Kevin Anderson.

Anderson, evidently fully recovered from injuries that severely hampered him over the past two seasons, thus finds himself in the final on Sunday against Germany’s Alexander Zverev, who demolished Nishikori in two sets that took scarcely over one hour. The Floridian could not use his solid defense against Zverev, whose big down-the-line winners repeatedly set the pace.

Though the same age as Paul, Zverev has more experience , with three ATP tournament titles so far this year. Kevin Anderson’s power, on serve and with the forehand, can match “Sascha”  Zverev’s; the final will go to the man who pushes harder and creates space for unreachable shots.

Sunday will also see the final on the women’s draw, whose semis were still in progress late Saturday, and the men’s doubles finals; the women’s having been decided early on Saturday with a win by the Japanese-Czech team of Shuko Aoyama and Renata Voracova over Canadian Eugenie Bouchard and American Sloane Stephens.


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