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Kyrgios, Nishioka Advance to ATP Washington Final

Kyrgios, Nishioka Advance to ATP Washington Final

Sunday, 7 August, 2022 - 04:00
Aug 5, 2022; Washington, DC, USA; Nick Kyrgios (AUS) hits a forehand against Frances Tiafoe (USA) (not pictured) on day five of the Citi Open at Rock Creek Park Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka upset eighth-ranked Andrey Rublev on Saturday to join Wimbledon runner-up Nick Kyrgios in reaching the ATP and WTA Washington Open men's final with straight-set triumphs.

Left-hander Nishioka, ranked 96th, outclassed top seed Rublev 6-3, 6-4 in 80 minutes to book his first ATP final since 2020 at Delray Beach.

Nishioka, who won his only ATP title in 2018 at Shenzhen, fired only 12 winners but took full advantage 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," AFP quoted Kyrgios as saying. "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 a 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.

World number 37 Kanepi eliminated Australia's Daria Saville 6-3, 6-1 in 73 minutes while Samsonova routed China's Wang Xiyu 6-1, 6-1 in 67 minutes.

Rublev, thwarted in his bid for a 12th career title and fourth of the year, fell to 1-2 against Nishioka, who also beat him at Sydney in 2019 but fell to Rublev at the 2021 ATP Cup.

Nishioka, 26, broke for a 3-1 lead in the first set, Rublev slamming his racquet to the court in frustration, and held through to claim the first set after 40 minutes on his second ace.

In the second set, they exchanged breaks in the second and third games and again when Nishioka broke Rublev at love in the seventh game. Rublev broke back in the eighth but Nishioka broke again to lead 5-4 and held to win when Rublev smashed a forehand long.

Kyrgios won the last three points in his first-set tiebreaker, Ymer sending a forehand long to end an intense rally before Kyrgios added a service winner and overhead smash.

Ymer, who lost his only ATP final last August in Winston-Salem, botched a forehand volley in the third game of the second set to miss a chance to grab a break point.

Kyrgios earned the only break points of the match in the penultimate game, breaking on a passing forehand winner and holding on his 10th ace to win in 94 minutes.

Kyrgios, who jumps to at least 42nd in Monday's rankings, fired 28 winners with only 15 unforced errors and hit 71% of his first serves.

"I served pretty solid," Kyrgios said. "But from the back of the court I didn't play well at all."

Kanepi seeks her fifth career WTA title but her first since the 2013 Brussels Open. She won her only WTA hardcourt title at Brisbane in 2012.

Into her first WTA final since February 2021 at Melbourne, Kanepi dominated Saville's first WTA semi-final since 2018 at Acapulco.

"I played my best match," Kanepi said. "Everything was very smooth for me. I hit a lot of lines."

Samsonova, 23, won her only meeting with Kanepi in last year's first round at Wimbledon. Samsonova is into her first WTA hardcourt final, having won her only prior final at last year's German Open.

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