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Karlovic beats heat to make finals

By: Anirudh Sridhar

Ivo

Needing only one break in each set, Ivo Karlovic held serve throughout the game to defeat American Steve Johnson 6-4, 6-4 under hot and humid conditions in Washington D.C.

According to the weather channel, it was 94 degrees at the start of play, but with humidity it felt like 102 degrees and on the court it felt like nearly 130-140 degrees.

“It was hot, there was a moment in the game I just wanted to lie down,” Karlovic said.

Karlovic had 41 winners on the day, with a majority of them coming at the net or a backhand down the line. After he had 26 aces in his quarterfinal match, Karlovic only had 14 in this match but they were all at crucial moments in the game.

After breaking Johnson’s serve at the beginning of the second set, Karlovic saved two break points on his next service game with three consecutive ace.

Despite all the winners, Karlovic did have 18 unforced errors which he looks to fix moving forward.

“Tomorrow will be a different match, because both of them (Zverev and Monfils) have a different style of play,” Karlovic said.

A win tomorrow will give Karlovic his second consecutive title after winning the Newport Open earlier this year.

This is the second consecutive year that Johnson has lost in the semifinals of the Citi Open, falling to John Isner in 2015.

“I really like this tournament, I was looking to make a final here, but I’ll be back next year and hopefully put my name up on the wall with the other champions,” Johnson said.

Johnson will no travel to Rio to compete in the Olympics, looking to bring home a medal for the US in the singles and doubles competitions.

Gael Monfils breezes past Alexander Zverev

The match did go just over an hour, but Gael Monfils made easy work of the young surprise Alexander Zverev. Monfils had 10 aces in the match with a 79-percent success rate on his first serves as he moved into the finals with a 6-4, 6-0 victory.

“He’s probably the quickest player on [the ATP World Tour],” Zverev said of Monfils, who has yet to truly be threatened in this tournament.

Monfils will play in his first Citi Open finals and first ATP World Tour finals since Montpellier in 2014. Monfils dropped only three points on his serves in the second set of his semifinal match.

Davis moves into finals with win over Pegula

Either way, there was going to be a surprising American in the Citi Open finals in the women’s bracket with Lauren Davis and Jessica Pegula facing off in the semifinals. But it was a simplistic performance by Davis that led to her 6-2, 6-3 victory to advance.

Pegula was coming off shocking wins over Christina McHale and Samantha Stosur in the last two rounds of the tournament, but Davis, a 22-year-old ranked just 122nd in the world, was able to extend volleys and wait for Pegula to make mistakes as she advanced to her first WTA final.

“I was confident because I put the work in, but this is definitely beyond what I expected,” Davis said.

Pegula was able to rally from being down 3-1 to tie the score in the second set, but went back to playing sloppy and making young mistakes she has been prone to. Still, at just 22-years-old as well, this tournament has set both Pegula and Davis up for an assent up the rankings. Davis just continued to remain calm the entire match even after Pegula’s run, and failed to make the mistakes her opponent was making.

Davis will meet Yanina Wickmayer in the finals. The 26-year-old Germany who is ranked 55th in the world advanced after finishing 78-percent of her first serves and converting 5-of-6 break points to beat Yulia Putnitseva 6-4, 6-2.

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Anirudh Sridhar

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