Suddenly consistent Nick Kyrgios moves into Citi Open final

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WASHINGTON — Nick Kyrgios found the consistency that has long eluded him, reaching a second consecutive tournament final for the first time in his career with a 7-6 (4), 6-3 victory over Mikael Ymer at the Citi Open.

Kyrgios, the runner-up at Wimbledon to Novak Djokovic, has adjusted well to the hot, humid conditions at this hard-court U.S. Open tune-up. He won an uncharacteristic 24-shot rally on Ymer’s serve to go ahead 5-4 in the first-set tiebreak and served it out from there.

In the second set, Krygios secured the only service break of the match on a cross-court half-volley from no-man’s land to move ahead 5-3.

“He’s an incredible athlete and I really wasn’t expecting him to be that fast,” Kyrgios said. “Maybe next time I might have a couple different tactics when I play him, maybe not to try and out-rally him, maybe come forward a little bit more. But it was a tough-fought semifinal and I’m just happy to be in the final once again.”

Nishioka had not won a tour-level match since Miami in March, but knocked off Jenson Brooksby, Alex de Minaur, Karen Khachanov and Daniel Evans in Washington before frustrating Rublev. He won his lone ATP title at Shenzhen, China in 2018.

Kyrgios is 3-0 against Nishioka, most recently winning in 2019 in Washington.

“We’ve played many times, but he beat me every time since (we were) 16 years old. It is really tough to play against him,” Nishioka said.

In the women’s draw, Kaia Kanepi moved within one victory of her first title in nine years, overwhelming Daria Saville 6-3, 6-1.

Kanepi, a 37-year-old from Estonia, won the last of her four WTA titles in 2013 in Brussels. But she has enjoyed a resurgence this year, reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, and credits smart scheduling for her continued good form.

“It was amazing, actually, for me. I never thought I would make quarters in Australia. I thought it’s not just my place,” said Kanepi, who previously reached the quarterfinals in the other three Grand Slam tournaments. “But I played really well, and then I continued playing well. I actually didn’t put any pressure on myself to achieve something special.”

Kanepi’s match record this year is 19-10, her most victories since 2013, and she is ranked No. 37. She plans to play two more hard-court tournaments before the U.S. Open, which starts Aug. 29.

In the final, Kanepi will face 60th-ranked Liudmila Samsonova, who breezed past Xiyun Wang 6-1, 6-1. The 23-year-old Samsonova is seeking her second WTA singles title. She won a hard-court event at New Haven, Connecticut, in 2017.

Unseeded Parks beats top-seeded Garcia for her 1st title

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LYON, France — Unseeded American Alycia Parks secured a stunning 7-6 (7), 7-5 upset win over WTA Finals champion Caroline Garcia in the Open Metropole de Lyon final to clinch her first career title.

“I think France has a special part in my heart right now,” Parks said. “I’ll be back next year.”

The 22-year-old Parks, who is ranked 79th, had 15 aces and saved all four break points against the top-seeded Garcia.

Parks secured the only break of a tight contest to win the match.

The fifth-ranked Garcia, a U.S. Open semifinalist last year, was seeking a 12th career title.

“Congrats on a great tournament,” Garcia told Parks in English. “If you keep playing like this for sure you’re going to keep going up (the rankings).”

Parks has a career-best ranking of 75th.

The 29-year-old Garcia, who grew up in Lyon, took time to thank her home crowd – this time in French.

“It means a lot to play here, thanks for being here,” Garcia said. “You supported me from the first point to the last. Thanks for all your encouragement.”

Zhu beats Tsurenko to win Thailand Open

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HUA HIN, Thailand — Zhu Lin of China won her maiden career title after beating Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Thailand Open.

In a match lasting one hour and 45 minutes, both players exchanged nail-biting baseline rallies before Zhu finally found a way past her determined opponent.

The 29-year-old Chinese player managed a break to go up 5-3 in the first set. Although she was broken to love in the following game, Zhu returned the favor straight back, also to love, to take the opening set in 46 minutes.

The second saw players trade breaks with Zhu eventually securing her first match point at 5-3. She sprayed a shot wide to miss the chance but capitalized on her third in the 10th game with a backhand winner.

“I’m so happy to finally win my first tour title. All the hard work finally paid off,” said the No. 54-ranked Zhu, who will crack the top 50 when the new WTA rankings are updated.

Zhu has started the season strongly, reaching the quarter-finals in Auckland and the last 16 at the Australian Open.

The victory also allowed Zhu to avenge her loss to the Ukrainian at the WTA Dubai Championships back in 2019.

Despite the loss, the No. 136-ranked Tsurenko, 33, will return to the top 100.