And Then There Were Four: Citi Open Semifinals Feature Young Talent and One Kei Nishikori
Steve Fogleman in Washington
It’s been a week of upsets at the Citi Open in Washington all the way to the semifinals with only one seeded player remaining. I’m feeling that the upsets end today with two favorites advancing to tomorrow’s ATP 500 final.
Jenson Brooksby continued his march through Washington on Friday night by doing to John Millman what he’s been doing all week: baffle top talent. Asked if he is surprising other players, he said, “I don’t know exactly what goes through their minds. I’m not surprising myself, but I think — I mean, I think they, by now, people know what to expect in general, but, I mean, I think I still am surprising them.”
Should we add Jannik Sinner to the list of those who aren’t ready to beat Brooksby? Sinner’s aware of the threat. “I think he’s a very tricky player,” he said yesterday. “He is maybe in the best moment of his young, young career, you know, playing the best tennis. He is, yeah, in confidence.”
Sinner hits the practice courts after matches and skipped the Olympics in order to improve his game in time for the big US Open Series tournaments in August. I predict Brooksby’s amazing run through the top brass ends today on the racquet of the Italian.
Kei Nishikori flew in from Tokyo and did a lot of damage to his opponents all week. In prior editions of the Citi Open, Kei has been the superstar of this event and is a 2017 champion here. That’s why it seemed so strange this week as he practiced, played and won in an under-the-radar fashion thanks to the Rafa Effect. That jet lag is long gone which means Nishikori’s game is getting better every day.
“I was a little bit tired after coming from Japan,” he said in post-match press last night, “but I had a couple days’ rest. It wasn’t easy, obviously. I had only maybe three days or four days to play first match, but I able to manage, you know, fight through first couple rounds. Now I’m feeling good again.”
I’m picking Nishikori to advance to tomorrow’s final. We’ll see you then.