World no. 3 and the defending Citi Open champion Alexander Zverev went all the way in the American capital in 2018, beating another young gun Alex de Minaur 6-2, 6-4 in 74 minutes. It was the ninth ATP title for the young German and his 41st victory of the season, still standing among the world's best players.
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. In the semis, De Minaur fended off four match points against Andrey Rublev to advance into the second ATP final, becoming 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 series was established in 1990. Zverev did not have to play against break chances against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semis, and that was the case again 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 to face 11 break chances and get 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, and 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 in the shortest range 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 before Zverev 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.