Washington Flashback: Alexander Zverev defends title over Alex de Minaur

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Washington Flashback: Alexander Zverev defends title over Alex de Minaur

World no. 3 and the defending Citi Open champion Alexander Zverev went all the way in the American capital in 2018. Alexander defeated another young gun Alex de Minaur 6-2, 6-4 in 74 minutes to become the first defending champion since Juan Martin del Potro in 2009.

It was the ninth ATP title for the young German and his 41st victory of the season. With those 500 points, Zverev held the third position in the rankings ahead of Juan Martin del Potro and headed to Toronto with a lot of confidence ahead of another title defense attempt.

De Minaur fended off four match points against Andrey Rublev in the semi-final to advance into the second ATP final. He became one of the youngest finalists at the ATP 500 level. Zverev was 21 at that moment, and it was one of the youngest ATP 500 finals since the establishment of the series in 1990.

Zverev did not face break chances against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semis, and he repeated that in the final against the Aussie.

Alexander Zverev claimed back-to-back Washington titles in 2017 and 2018.

De Minaur grabbed only 11 points on the return and lost 43% of the points behind the initial shot.

He faced 11 break chances and got broken four times to finish runner-up. Zverev prevailed over de Minaur six months earlier in the Davis Cup tie in Brisbane in the deciding tie break, and it was a completely different outcome in Washington.

They had a similar number of unforced errors. The German built the advantage in the forced errors segment to leave the opponent behind. Alex stayed in touch in the more extended exchanges but fell short in the quickest once up to four strokes, where Alexander forged the victory.

Zverev grabbed a break in the encounter's first game and held at love with an ace to cement the lead. Unable to find the rhythm, the Aussie suffered another break at 0-2, and Alexander held after deuce to open a 4-0 gap.

Both players served well in the remaining games, and the German landed two aces at 5-2 to clinch the opener and gain momentum. Zverev moved in front with a break at 1-1 in the second set and wasted more chances on the return at 4-2.

De Minaur saved match points on serve in game nine to reduce the deficit. Zverev stayed calm and held at 30 at 5-4 to seal the deal and become the third player with back-to-back titles in Washington after Andre Agassi and Juan Martin del Potro.