Getty Images

Defending champ Zverev edges Nishikori in DC

Leave a comment

WASHINGTON — Defending champion Alexander Zverev returned to the Citi Open semifinals by coming back for a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory over No. 7 seed Kei Nishikori at the rain-drenched tournament Friday.

Only two other men’s and women’s quarterfinals were completed before all play was called off on a wet day that also included three-time major champion Andy Murray’s withdrawal.

The No. 1-seeded Zverev, who beat his older brother, Mischa, in the third round, also eliminated 2015 Washington champion Nishikori at the hard-court tuneup for the U.S. Open a year ago en route to the title.

Germany’s Zverev, 21, improved to 14-2 in his four appearances at the Citi Open.

On Saturday, he’ll face 19-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece. The No. 10 seed Tsitsipas beat No. 3 David Goffin 6-3, 6-4.

Tsitsipas is coming off his first run to the fourth round at a Grand Slam tournament, last month at Wimbledon.

On the other half of the draw, Murray pulled out of his quarterfinal after winning a trio of three-setters and lamenting a schedule that had him start his latest victory at midnight.

Murray cited fatigue when he withdrew Friday, hours before he was supposed to face 19-year-old Alex de Minaur, who was given a walkover into the semifinals. The remaining men’s quarterfinal between No. 16 Andrey Rublev of Russia and unseeded Denis Kudla, who is from nearby Arlington, Virginia, never got started because of rain and was pushed to Saturday.

In the only women’s quarterfinal that concluded, Andrea Petkovic got past No. 6 seed Belinda Bencic 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (8). The other three women’s matches were moved to Saturday.

Storms earlier in the week forced some men to play twice in one day.

Murray’s third-round victory over Marius Copil ended just past 3 a.m. on Friday, after rain delayed the start of Thursday’s action for 2 1/2 hours. Afterward, Murray told a small group of reporters that he “potentially” could withdrew from the tournament.

He also announced Friday that he was going to skip next week’s Toronto Masters.

Murray is working his way back into form after having surgery on his right hip and being sidelined for 11 months.

“I’m exhausted after playing so much over the last four days, having not competed on the hard courts for 18 months,” said Murray, whose three matches each lasted more than 2 1/2 hours. “I also need to be careful and to listen to my body as I come back from a long-term injury.”

Playing on two surfaces, Vekic reaches Nottingham semis

Getty Images
Leave a comment

NOTTINGHAM, England — Former champion Donna Vekic finally got to play on grass at the Nottingham Open on Friday but had to overcome multiple rain delays and another switch indoors before reaching the semifinals.

The second-seeded Vekic defeated Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 6-4 in a match played on two surfaces as rain again played havoc with the schedule.

The opening two days were completely washed out before organizers decided to switch the first and second rounds indoors as rain fell for four consecutive days.

Vekic, who won the tournament in 2017, will play Germany’s Tatjana Maria in her third straight semifinal in Nottingham. Maria earlier defeated Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3, 7-6 (7) in the only match completed on grass so far at the tournament.

Also Friday, American Jennifer Brady defeated fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece 7-5, 6-3 to set up a semifinal against top-seeded Caroline Garcia.

Garcia rallied to beat Romanian qualifier Elena-Gabriela Ruse 4-6, 7-6, 6-1 in the last quarterfinal.

Auger-Aliassime, 18, to play Berrettini in Stuttgart final

Getty Images
Leave a comment

STUTTGART, Germany — Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime will play Italy’s Matteo Berrettini in the final of the Stuttgart Open.

The 18-year-old Auger-Aliassime progressed to his third tour-level final without playing on Saturday as compatriot Milos Raonic withdrew ahead of their semifinal due to back problems. The sixth-seeded Raonic lost last year’s final to Roger Federer, who opted not to defend his title.

Berrettini defeated Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 7-5 in the other semifinal. The 30th-ranked Berrettini will be going for this third tour title and his first on grass after victories in Budapest in April, and Gstaad, Switzerland, last year.

The 21st-ranked Auger-Aliassime previously reached championship matches in Rio de Janeiro in February and the Lyon Open in May – both on clay.