In the American capital in 2018, world number three and defending Citi Open winner Alexander Zverev competed to the very finish. Alexander became the first defending champion since Juan Martin del Potro in 2009 by defeating Alex de Minaur, another promising young player, 6-2, 6-4 in 74 minutes.
The young German won his 41st match of the season and his eighth ATP title. With those 500 points, Zverev moved up to third place in the rankings, ahead of Juan Martin del Potro, and he was quite confident going into his upcoming championship defense in Toronto.
De Minaur survived Andrey Rublev’s four match points in the semi-final to go to the second ATP final. At the ATP 500 level, he became one of the youngest finalists. It was one of the youngest ATP 500 finals since the series’ inception in 1990, and Zverev, who was 21 at the time, won it.
In both the semifinal round against Stefanos Tsitsipas and the championship match versus the Australian, Zverev avoided break opportunities.
In 2017 and 2018, Alexander Zverev won the Washington tournament back-to-back times.
De Minaur lost 43% of the points after the initial shot and only managed to grab 11 points on the return.
In order to place second, he had to contend with 11 break chances and failed four times. Six months previously, in the Davis Cup match in Brisbane, Zverev defeated de Minaur in the decisive tie break, but the result in Washington was very different.
They each made an equal number of unforced mistakes. The German gained the upper hand in the part of forced errors and pulled ahead of the rival. In the longer, more drawn-out matches, Alex remained competitive, but lost to Alexander in the shorter, four-stroke matches.
In the opening game of the match, Zverev got lucky and held at love with an ace to take the lead. Lacking consistency, the Australian broke again at 0-2, and Alexander held after a deuce to establish a 4-0 lead.
The German hit two aces at 5-2 to win the first set and gather momentum. Both players served effectively in the subsequent games. At 1-1 in the second set, Zverev broke to take the lead and lost further opportunities on the return at 4-2.
In game nine, De Minaur reduced the deficit by saving match points when serving. After Andre Agassi and Juan Martin del Potro, Zverev is the third player in Washington to win back-to-back matches by holding at 30 at 5-4 to secure the victory.