Zverev Cruises Until Rain Suspends Washington Opener
The champ is back, and he’s looking as good as ever. Top seed and defending champion Alexander Zverev took a 6-2 lead against Malek Jaziri of Tunisia at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., before rain suspended their match for the second time early Wednesday morning.
Zverev had just wrapped up the first set when rain fell again, around 1:10 a.m. local time. Their first-round match was first postponed with Zverev leading 3-0, and they didn’t resume until 12:50 a.m.
The 21-year-old Zverev lost only one first-serve point in the opener (10/11). He’s looking for his first hard-court title of the season after winning on clay at the BMW Open by FWU in Munich (d. Kohlschreiber) and the Mutua Madrid Open, his third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title (d. Thiem).
Stan Wawrinka, competing in his first outdoors hard-court match since January, showed signs of his old self but fell just short against American qualifier Donald Young 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-6(3). Young led 5/3 in the second-set tie-break but Wawrinka came back to even the match. In the third, however, the 29-year-old Chicago native clinched his first match point. Young will next meet seventh seed Kei Nishikori of Japan.
“It was tough. I fought a lot of nerves there, but I’m happy the result was a ‘W’ at the end of the day. It’s tough playing Stan,” said Young, who won just his third tour-level match of the year. “I haven’t had a bunch of confidence this year. Closing matches is kind of a skill you get from winning, and I haven’t done that, but I was able to do that and quallies definitely helped.”
Australia’s #NextGenATP star Alex de Minaur came back to beat Vasek Pospisil of Canada 6-7(6), 6-2, 6-3. De Minaur will next play 11th seed Steve Johnson of the U.S.
Hometown favourite Denis Kudla earned a special victory against Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko 6-7(3), 6-1, 6-4 in one hour, 57 minutes. Kudla is from nearby Arlington, Virginia, and he celebrated his first win during his fifth try at his hometown tournament. He will next meet 12th seed Karen Khachanov of Russia.
American Jared Donaldson, who competed at the 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, beat Aussie Jordan Thompson 6-4, 7-6(4). Donaldson struggled on serve, donating 11 double faults and landing less than half of his first serves (42/90), but he persevered in one hour, 47 minutes and will next meet Greece’s #NextGenATP star Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Did You Know?
Zverev and his older brother Mischa Zverev have never played against each other in a tour-level match. But it could happen this week in Washington.