Kyrgios, Nishioka advance to ATP Washington final

Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan defeated eighth-ranked Andrey Rublev on Saturday, joining Wimbledon runner-up Nick Kyrgios in winning in straight sets to go to the ATP and WTA Washington Open men’s final.

The 96th-ranked left-hander Nishioka defeated the top seed Rublev 6-3, 6-4 in 80 minutes to advance to his first ATP final at Delray Beach since 2020.

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Last 12 winners were hit by Nishioka, who won his only ATP championship in Shenzhen in 2018, but he made the most of Rublev’s 33 unforced errors.

Australia’s 63rd-ranked Kyrgios ousted Sweden’s 115th-ranked Mikael Ymer 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 and reached back-to-back tour-level finals for the first time in his career.

The 27-year-old Aussie, who lost to Novak Djokovic last month in his first Grand Slam final, won the most recent of his six ATP titles at Washington in 2019.

“It was a tough-fought semi-final and I’m just happy to be in the final once again,” Kyrgios said. “I didn’t play anywhere near my best tennis.”

Kyrgios has a 3-0 career record against Nishioka, most recently winning in the third round of his 2019 Washington title run.

Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi, trying to end nine-year WTA title drought at age 37, and 60th-ranked Liudmila Samsonova will meet in the women’s final at the US Open tuneup.

global ranking 37 Samsonova defeated Wang Xiyu of China 6-1, 6-1 in 67 minutes while Kanepi defeated Daria Saville of Australia 6-3, 6-1 in 73 minutes.

Rublev lost to Nishioka 1-2, who had defeated him in Sydney in 2019 but lost to Rublev in the ATP Cup in 2021. Rublev was denied his chance to win his 12th career title and fourth of the year.

After Rublev slammed his racket to the ground in frustration, Nishioka, 26, broke for a 3-1 lead in the opening set and held on to win on his second ace after 40 minutes.

They traded breaks in the second and third games of the second set, and then again when Nishioka broke Rublev at love in the seventh game. Rublev regained the break in the eighth game, but Nishioka broke again to take the lead at 5-4 and held on for the victory when Rublev smacked a forehand long.

In the first set tiebreaker, Kyrgios prevailed in the final three points after Ymer’s long forehand ended a tight rally. Kyrgios then added a service winner and overhead smash.

In the third game of the second set, Ymer, who lost his last ATP final last August in Winston-Salem, missed a forehand volley and wasted a chance to earn a break point.

In the penultimate game, Kyrgios earned the only break points of the match. He broke with a passing forehand winner and held on to win in 94 minutes.

Kyrgios, who rises to at least 42nd in the rankings as of Monday, hammered 71 percent of his first serves and racked up 28 wins against only 15 unforced mistakes.

Kyrgios remarked, “I served really solid.” But I didn’t play well at all from the back of the court, I admit.

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Mridha Shihab Mahmud is a writer, content editor and photojournalist. He works as a staff reporter at News Hour. He is also involved in humanitarian works through a trust called Safety Assistance For Emergencies (SAFE). Mridha also works as film director. His passion is photography. He is the chief respondent person in Mymensingh Film & Photography Society. Besides professional attachment, he loves graphics designing, painting, digital art and social networking.
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