Nick Kyrgios is one match away from ending a three-year ATP Tour title drought after reaching the final of the Citi Open in Washington DC.
Kyrgios last lifted a singles trophy in DC back in 2019 and will need to overcome Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka to break through.
The Wimbledon finalist battled past Mikael Ymer 7-6(4), 6-3 in an entertaining semi-final.
Kyrgios wasn’t pleased with his game after the match feeling he gave Ymer too many openings.
“Honestly I didn’t play anywhere near my best tennis today, and I don’t know.
“The role was reversed, the past couple matches I’ve been on paper, rankings-wise the underdog in my past couple matches, but today I definitely felt like the favourite,” Kyrgios said in his on-court interview.
“I served pretty solid.
“Obviously my winning percentage behind my first serve would have been high, but from the back of the court I didn’t play well at all.”
An energetic if quite defensive player, Ymer made Kyrgios work hard for the victory.
“The difference was he stands on the fast and he makes you play that extra ball. He’s an incredible athlete and I really wasn’t expecting him to be that fast,” Kyrgios said.
“Maybe next time I might have a couple different tactics when I play him, maybe not to try and out rally him, maybe come forward a little bit more. But it was a tough-fought semi-final and I’m just happy to be in the final once again.”
Kyrgios appeared to find his level in the first set tie-break when he seized the mini-break after a 24-shot rally.
The Australian showed uncharacteristic patience at times but ultimately big serving and baseline power in key moments sw him triumph after one hour and 35 minutes.
Kyrgios’ serve wasn’t the weapon it had been against Tiafoe in a quarter-final that was arguably the match of the tournament so far, but his 10 aces gave him enough of an edge.
His aggressive game made life impossible for Ymer who succumbed to defeat after giving up the second set 6-3.
Kyrgios will break into the top 40 if he lifts the Citi Open trophy for a second time on Sunday with the points haul enough to take him up to World No 37.
The win over Ymer ensured that Kyrgios made the final of consecutive tour-level tournaments for the first time in his career.
Nishioka stunned top seed Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-4 to reach his first ATP 500 final.
“I love to play here, I have been here many times. But for tomorrow, everyone loves Nick as well. Hopefully still they… the crowd, [cheers for] me, but just [going to] enjoy the day tomorrow,” Nishioka said in his on-court interview.
“[It is my] first time [in a] final in a 500, so [I will] just [try to] play my best and [I am] excited.”
Nishioka has lost all three of his previous ATP Tour matches against Kyrgios.
“We’ve played many times, but he beat me every time since [we were] 16 years old. It is really tough to play against him,” Nishioka said.
“He doesn’t have any pace, he just hits the ball so hard every time and most of his serves [too], which [makes it] very tough to break his service games. The most important thing is I have to focus on my service games.”
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