Nick Kyrgios in top form to make Washington final

Nick Kyrgios is “super excited” after continuing his career-best season by advancing to the Citi Open final in Washington.

Recovering from his grueling workload a day earlier when he finished off Reilly Opelka and then saved five match points in an epic quarter-final win over Frances Tiafoe, Kyrgios faced Michael Ymer in straight sets.

Kyrgios produced another imperious display on serve to beat Ymer 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 in the Wimbledon runner-up’s fifth semi-final in his last six events.

Only an abdominal strain in Mallorca tarnished the impressive streak.

Yet beaten all week in the American capital, Kyrgios did not face a single break point against Ymer.

He scored the set point in the opener with his 80th tournament ace and sealed the set with a fine serve-and-volley game and an overhead shot winner.

The second set also proved to be a serve duel, but the Swede was always going to come out second against Kyrgios in this type of atmosphere as the Aussie clinched the last three games to win in an hour and 34 minutes.

Back to peak form

Kyrgios hadn’t made a final for three years but has now reached two in less than a month, including his whirlwind run to his maiden Grand Slam title match at Wimbledon.

That four-set loss to Djokovic at the All England Club remains the 27-year-old’s only defeat in his last 11 appearances since mid-June.

“I’m just happy to be in another final,” Kyrgios said.

“I couldn’t sleep until 4:50. I had so much adrenaline. I had dinner, got treatment and my body was so sore after last night.

“It was an epic battle (against Tiafoe). I didn’t really do much today and felt like my energy was a bit flat today.

“It’s understandable – I’m only human – but my adrenaline for the final is going to be there. I’m super excited for this.

Had the ATP not stripped Wimbledon of ranking points in opposition to the All England Club banning Russian and Belarusian players due to the Ukraine invasion, Kyrgios would have regained his place in the top 15 global.

Instead, he remains at No. 63 and continues to mock the men’s rankings, which ridiculously counts Djokovic at world No. 6, the Serbian superstar’s lowest position in 15 years.

Kyrgios’ run in Washington guarantees the 27-year-old a climb to at least 42nd in the world and he is expected to climb to 37th if he wins a seventh professional title.

With big events to come in Montreal and Cincinnati, Kyrgios is on track to secure a very important seed for the US Open starting August 29 in New York.

The most recent of his six ATP titles came in Washington in 2019 and he will face Russian seed Andrey Rublev or Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in his 11th career final in hopes of nabbing another.

-PAA

Carol N. Valencia