A Memorable Citi Open (photos)

The Citi Open tennis tournament concluded Sunday, Aug. 6, with a dominating performance by next-gen phenom Alexander “Sascha” Zverev of Germany. Zverev defeated Kevin Anderson of South Africa 6-4 6-4 to win his first ATP World Tour 500 title (and his fourth of the season), becoming the youngest champion in the tournament’s 49-year history. Only Roger Federer has more tournament wins (five) this year. Zverev earned $355,460 for his efforts and will remain ranked number eight in the world.

In the final match of the tournament, Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova of Russia captured the women’s singles title, outlasting Julia Goerges of Germany 3-6, 7-6, 6-0. It was her first win on the tour in more than three years. With Goerges serving for the match in the second set, Makarova broke serve to stay alive, then dominated the ensuing tiebreak and rolled through the final set to capture the win in just over two hours. Goerges seemed to run out of gas.

Earlier in the day, Henri Kontinen of Finland and John Peers of Australia defeated Marcelo Melo of Brazil and Lukasz Kubat of Poland 7-6(5), 6-4 to win the men’s doubles title.

The 49th edition of the Citi Open at D.C.’s Rock Creek Tennis Center boasted one of its strongest fields ever, hosting on the men’s side four of the world’s top 10 players, six in the top 15 and 14 in the top 32. The women’s side featured Simona Halep of Romania, the current second-ranked player in the world.

It was a tournament marked by several major upsets and more than a few close calls. Second seed and 9th-ranked Kei Nishilori of Japan had to fight off three match points to defeat 225th-ranked American Tommy Paul in a grueling quarterfinal match. A potential match winner for Paul in the second set came within inches of the right sideline.

Qualifier and 200th-ranked Yuki Bhambri of India stunned last year’s champion Gael Monfils before bowing to Kevin Anderson of South Africa in the quarterfinals. In what some have called the best match this year in tennis, Anderson defeated 7th-ranked top seed Dominic Thiem of Austria in a match that lasted two hours and 46 minutes, not including a two-hour rain delay.

Top women’s seed Halep had to retire from her quarterfinal match because of the heat, allowing Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova to advance to the semifinals. The weather was a major factor in the tournament. Three days were punctuated by heavy downpours forcing several sessions to end at 2 a.m. The hot weather finally gave way on Saturday, with the final two days played under remarkably pleasant weather conditions.

View Jeff Malet’s photos from the Citi Open by clicking on the photo icons below.




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