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Bridging The Gap
Zverev wins second consecutive Washington Open
  Tuesday 07 August, 2018
Zverev wins second consecutive Washington Open

World number three Alexander Zverev won his second consecutive Washington Open title Sunday, defeating Australian teen Alex De Minaur 6-2, 6-4 in the youngest ATP final since 2007.

The 21-year-old German captured his ninth career ATP title, and third of the year after Munich and Madrid, at the US Open hardcourt tuneup event.

Zverev joined a list of back-to-back Washington champions that includes Americans Andre Agassi and Michael Chang and Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro, the most recent prior winner to defend from 2008-09.

It was the second career ATP final for De Minaur, a 19-year-old from Sydney who lost his hometown title match to Daniil Medvedev in January.

Not since 20-year-old Rafael Nadal beat 19-year-old Novak Djokovic 11 years ago at Indian Wells had the combined ages of ATP finalists been so young. Not since Harold Solomon beat Guillermo Vilas in 1974 had a Washington final featured two players 21-or-under.

“This match could be the final for the next 15 years so I hope you really enjoyed it,” Zverev told spectators after the match, noting his first-ever ATP match with brother Mischa in the third round. “This week has been so fortunate for memories. This was an experience we dreamed about playing in our backyard. It was a memorable experience for me.”

De Minaur, who saved four match points in beating Russian Andrey Rublev in the semi-finals, was trying to become the youngest ATP champion since Zverev at St. Petersburg in 2016.

The 72nd-ranked Aussie will jump to a career-best 45th in Monday’s rankings.

“It has been a really special week for me,” said De Minaur. “(Zverev) deserved it, played too good today.”

Zverev is of Russian heritage, his family moving to Hamburg in 1991, six years before Alexander was born, while De Minaur was born to a Spanish mother and Uruguayan father and grew up in Spain as well as Australia.

De Minaur advanced to the semi-finals when three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray withdrew Friday after three grueling three-set matches in four days in only his third event since missing 11 months with a right hip injury.

“To go from nothing to back-to-backs like that was quite a shock to the system. He was a bit beaten up,” said Andy’s brother Jamie Murray, who won the doubles title with Brazilian Bruno Soares. “Hopefully he’ll be back on the court real soon.”

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