- The Washington Times
Saturday, August 6, 2022

Nick Kyrgios has continued his roll to the finals at Wimbledon with a roll back to the finals of the Citi Open.

The Aussie beat Sweden’s Mikael Ymer in straight sets Saturday night, 7-6(4), 6-3 to advance to his second Citi Open final. He won the tournament the last time he did that in 2019.

“I think, you know, this is just a kind of result of the last six months I think for me, the amount of work I have done,” Kyrgios said. “You know, consciously trying to every day get into good habits, be positive, try to work on new things on court.”

His pounding service game was the difference throughout, forcing Ymer to set up far beyond the baseline — sometimes 10 or 15 feet deep — to have a chance at a return. The Swede never once earned a break point opportunity.

“Every time out there on the practice, I’m really trying to work on things, just training hard. I’m just dedicating myself a little bit more, I think, as well,” Kyrgios said. “I’m getting a bit more obsessed with seeing what I can actually do on a tennis court.”

The contest, the first meeting between the two, featured the usual Kyrgios conversations — sometimes with himself, sometimes with his box of supporters. That included once remarking to them that he was getting more support from a packed house at Fitzgerald Tennis Center, noting that he didn’t even “know these people from a bar of soap.”

Kyrgios got his window to crack Ymer’s serve in the second set leading 4-3. Ymer double-faulted in the middle of his game, which eventually ended up at deuce. Down the advantage, Ymer charged for a serve-and-volley tactic at the net that was dispatched by Kyrgios to win the game. He’d serve out the next to win the match.

Ymer finishes a sensational tournament that saw him play four straight three-set matches before the tangle with Kyrgios. His efforts ensure that he’ll move up 39 spots to world No. 76 when the newest rankings come out.

The unseeded Kyrgios will face similarly-unseeded Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan, who stunned top-seeded and world No. 8 Andrey Rublev in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4. It’s the fourth-straight seeded opponent the former Washington Kastle has beaten in his path to the ATP 500 final here, joining the likes of Alex de Minaur (11), Karen Khachanov (7), and Daniel Evans (16). Rublev had not dropped a set in his march to the semifinals until facing Nishioka.

“I think that’s maybe sometimes I need to be like relaxed like this,” Nishioka said of this play this week. “Just come here and play the tournament, and then I don’t have to get pressures and don’t think that much.”

“The players he’s beat this week are really, really tough players: Evans, Rublev, Khachanov, Brooksby. De Minaur won Atlanta, so he’s obviously playing really good tennis to beat those guys,” Kyrgios said. “I’ve got to be in fine form.”

• George Gerbo can be reached at ggerbo@washingtontimes.com.

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