Survival of the Fittest at Citi Open as Semifinals Set
Steve Fogleman in Washington
It’s been a tortuous few days for players and fans as scorching heat and torrential downpours hit the venue in Rock Creek Park, but the survivors have emerged from the wreckage and they are ready to collect their hardware. On Friday, some of these athletes played twice to book their ticket to the weekend action. Victoria Azarenka opened the day with straight sets win over Tereza Martincova, 7-6(7), 6-2 but that win came at a high price: 2 hours and 10 minutes on court. Hours later, she struggled throughout against the rested lucky loser Xiyu Wang as Azarenka fell 6-1, 6-3.
Nick Kyrgios started the day up a set over Reilly Opelka and got out of the match after a solo set on court Friday afternoon, 7-6(1), By contrast, Frances Tiafoe walked on court yesterday down a set before pulling off the comeback win against Botic Va de Zandschulp, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. That extra effort for the win may have been the difference as Kyrgios prevailed in the evening quarterfinal match in three sets, 6-7(5), 7-6(12), 6-2.
Andrey Rublev played his cards right on Friday by spending only 1:42 on court in a straight sets win over Maxime Cressy, 6-4, 7-6(8) and was more than ready for wild card J.J. Wolf, who needed 2:36 to beat Holger Rune, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 earlier in the the day. The result? Rublev cruised to the semifinals with a convincing 6-2, 6-3 drubbing of the Buckeye.
Kaia Kanepi and Daria Saville only had to play one match yesterday and it showed. Saville made mincemeat out of qualifier Rebecca Marino’s game, 6-1, 7-5. The second set was closer as the rain delay required Saville to re-adjust her game. Kanepi’s opponent, Anna Kalinskaya, seemed to wither in the hot conditions and it felt like Kanepi grew stronger with each passing game as the Estonian advanced to the quarterfinals, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3. Saville and Kanepi face off this afternoon and the winner will be the odds-on favorite to lift the trophy tomorrow.