Next-gen star Alexander Zverev won the Citi Open in one of four finals that were played around the world.
USA TODAY Sports
WASHINGTON — Alexander Zverev weathered storms and late-night matches all week before raising a crystal clear trophy on Sunday.
Zverev beat Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4 to take the Citi Open men’s singles title at Rock Creek Park Tennis Center. Though it was Zverev who would leave with the hardware, both players had positive takeaways as the U.S. Open approaches later this month.
At 20, Zverev became the youngest Citi Open champion and the youngest to win four titles in a season since Juan Martín del Potro did the same in 2008.
Zverev, ranked No. 8 in the world, has won twice on hard courts, but with both titles coming indoors. The Citi Open, part of the tour’s 500 series, was his fourth title since February and his fifth overall.
“This is the biggest hardcourt title that I have so far,” the German said. “It’s obviously great. They say this was the strongest player field they ever had … To be the winner in this event is special.”
While the win eluded him, Anderson found positives as he returned to the hard court.
“Outside of a couple movement patterns, the kind of tennis I was looking to play really doesn’t change that much,” he said. “I feel comfortable on the hard courts.”
Comfort was key for Anderson, who has been riddled with injuries since 2016. In January, the South African dropped to 80th in the world. He has since climbed to No. 45, and noted that his run in the Citi Open will help ahead of the U.S. Open.
“It just obviously helps with the ranking and points. I’m definitely trying to build up my ranking, so I’m sure I’ll go up a few spots this week. On the broader scheme, it’s a great start to the summer,” he said.
“With the way I was playing and making finals here, I think it was sort of validation. A lot of things I was working on, I can see that I’m on the right path.”
In 2015, Anderson had his deepest run in the U.S. Open, making it to the quarterfinals before falling to Stan Wawrinka. Both Wawrinka, the 2016 U.S. Open champion, and 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic…