Alexander Zverev isn’t the ATP’s "Next Gen." He’s already here. The 20-year-old world No. 8 looked in control from start to finish as he topped former world No. 10 Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4 to take the Citi Open crown.
“I think I improved a lot in the past few months and in the offseason, so I can be able to win these tournaments,” he said after the match. “I showed it in Rome, I showed it here again. I hope I can continue to play like this or even better.”
It’s Zverev’s first win in Washington, D.C., and he did it without facing a single break point on Sunday. He’s the youngest Citi Open champion and the youngest player to win four titles in a season since Juan Martin del Potro, who did both in 2008.
“This is the biggest hard-court title I have so far,” Zverev said. “This was the strongest player field they have ever had. Here I was seeded five and next week in Montreal [at a Masters 1000], I’m seeded four, which shows you how strong it was here.”
Anderson fired eight aces in the match, tallying 70 for the week, but Zverev wasn’t fazed. The German converted on two of his six break points early in each set to seal his victory.
For Anderson, even a loss signaled progress after coming back from an injury-riddled 2016 season.
“I found some positives from this week,” he said. “There are definitely a few things I would have liked to have done a little better, but I’ve definitely played some of my best tennis here. It’s been a great start to the summer.”
Three-time Washington, D.C., semifinalist Ekaterina Makarova became a Citi Open champion on Sunday with a 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-0 win over Germany’s Julia Goerges. It’s the Russian’s first singles title since 2014.
“I have such great memories from when I was a kid about Washington, so I was always dreaming of winning this title,” she said after the match.
Makarova started slowly, losing the first set for the third time in her last three matches, but the Russian’s legs may have been the fresher of the two players. Goerges finished her two-and-a-half-hour semifinal against Andrea Petkovic near midnight on Saturday, whereas Makarova had a few extra hours to recover following her afternoon showdown with Oceane Dodin.
The third time was not the charm for the world No. 40, who has reached two other finals in the past two months. Even so, the former world No. 15 has seen her ranking steadily climb this season. A run to the final is not a bad consolation prize considering she saved five match points before narrowly escaping Alison Van Uytvanck in the second round.
Makarova and Goerges will have a quick turnaround as they are both slated to play in Toronto this week.
Henri Kontinen and John Peers decided to play the Citi open on the Wednesday before the tournament started. That last-minute decision turned out to be a good one. They defeated Wimbledon champions Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 7-6(5), 6-4 to capture their first Citi Open crown and their seventh title together.
Peers and Kontinen have had quite the season, taking home their first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, which propelled Kontinen to the No. 1 ranking. After the match, one journalist asked Peers to provide one good doubles tip for amateurs. “Pick a good partner,” the Australian world No. 3 said with a smile. Good to know he’s following his own advice.