Youth will be served today in Washington. Just 21, Alexander Zverev will try to defend his D.C. title against 19-year-old Alex De Minaur in the youngest final on the ATP since 20-year-old Rafael Nadal beat 19-year-old Novak Djokovic at Indian Wells in 2007.
In the semifinals yesterday, Zverev cruised past another 19-year-old, Stefanos Tsitsipas, 6-2, 6-4. With the victory, he became the first player on tour to reach the 40-win plateau.
“Winning the first time feels amazing. But coming back here [there is] a little bit of pressure on your shoulders to defend your title,” Zverev said. “I’ve got another tough match ahead of me. But if I will be able to, it’d be an amazing feeling.”
“It shows that mentally, you’re also quite strong and you’re improving,” Zverev added. “It’s not easy to come into a week where you have a big title to defend.”
While Zverev enjoyed a straightforward afternoon, in the evening De Minaur had to overcome four match points to deny Andrey Rublev 5-7, 7-6(6), 6-4 in 2 hours, 52 minutes.
“I’m incredibly proud of myself. I dug deep,” De Minaur. “I just couldn’t see myself going any further. But I kept pushing myself, kept trying every single point and managed to turn that around. That’s probably the best win of my career.”
Rublev, who had to beat Denis Kulda earlier in the day, led 6-2 in the second set breaker.
Zverev won their only meeting at Davis Cup this year in a final set breaker.
“It would mean a lot. At least I could say I’m on the same page in one tournament with Lleyton,” De Minaur said. “But tomorrow’s going to be a very tough match against a very high-quality opponent and I’m just going to try and recover and leave it all out there again.”
Zverev is also bidding for his 9th career title, third of the year. De Minaur seeks his first.
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