The Citi Open is one of only 13 elite ATP World Tour 500-level events worldwide and the only one held in the United States. Since 2011, the Citi Open also features a WTA women’s tournament.
Zverev’s fourth title in 2017
The 20-year-old Zverev dropped only one set all week in the U.S. capital and finished on a strong note, beating South African Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4 on Sunday to win his first ATP World Tour 500 title.
The South African, who had hit 62 aces coming into Sunday's final, didn't have the same success on serve against Zverev. The German dictated a fast game, stepping into his returns with quick, short swings. This proved a smart strategy, and Zverev broke Anderson’s serve in the early stages of both sets, winning nearly 60 percent of his second-serve return points.
“It didn't feel like he gave me a whole lot. I thought he served very well. Outside of the two games I got broken, I was pretty happy with the way I played. But with him playing like that I couldn't afford to give up those two serve games,” Anderson said.
From the first points in the game, the 11-year difference between Zverev and 31-year-old Anderson was visible. The 20-year-old’s change of pace often led Anderson into unforced errors, and the mixture of below or above hip-height shots proved challenging for the 45th ranked South African.
Zverev has now won four titles this season, tying second place with Rafael Nadal for most 2017 ATP titles. Following his win in Washington, the 6’6” German is expected to jump to fourth place in the Emirates ATP Race To London, ahead of Swiss Stan Wawrinka and just 270 points behind third-placed Dominic Thiem. The title is also his first with new coach Juan Carlos Ferrero by his side.
Makarova wins the WTA title in another three-setter
In yet another three-setter marathon match, Ekatarina Makarova defeated Germany’s Julia Goerges 3-6 7-6(2) 6-0 to claim the WTA Citi Open Championship.
The seventh-seed Russian came from behind to claim her first WTA title in three years, after being halted in the Citi Open semi-finals three times.
Makarova’s last appearance at the Citi Open was in 2015, when she reached her career-high ranking of No. 8. She is currently ranked No. 58 in the world.
This was the third three-set match for the 29-year-old Russian, who beat top-seed Simona Halep in the quarter-finals and fifth-seed Oceane Dodin in the semis, both in three setters.
“I don't have a coach this week with me but I have some great supporters. The crowd was just amazing and I heard a lot of Russians today [and] all tournament," Makarova told reporters.
This was also the third three-setter for 28-year-old Goerges, who seemed exhausted after the second-set tiebreaker. Makarova’s game was steady, and she significantly cut down on unforced errors after the first set. The Russian also placed consistent pressure on her opponent’s serves, winning nearly 70% of her return points, compared to Goerges’ 24% in the last set.
The tournament's 50th anniversary next year
This year, the tournament hosted the highest-ranking players it has seen so far, but tournament director Keely O’Brien said much is to be expected in the years to come.
This is O’Brien’s first year in this role, and she is the youngest female tournament director on both the ATP World Tour and the WTA Tour, and one of five female ATP tournament directors.
Next year, the Citi Open is celebrating its 50th anniversary.