Citi Open finals preview: Zverev vs. De Minaur; Vekic vs. Kuznetsova

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WATCH —Daily Serve from Day 6 at Citi Open:

Steve Tignor previews the men's  and women's finals at the Citi Open. 

1. Alexander Zverev [1] vs. Alex de Minaur

Do 19-year-olds get tired? Do they have trouble recovering from epic semifinal wins the evening before their finals? Those would seem to be the first questions we need to ask about this Next Gen match-up. On Saturday night, De Minaur, a 19-year-old Australian currently ranked No. 72, needed 35 games to beat Andrey Rublev in a surprise classic semi. Along the way, he saved four match points, ran down every bullet forehand from Rublev that he possibly could, and brought the crowd over to its feet with his relentless scrappiness.

By 3:00 P.M. today, De Minaur will probably be OK physically. But can he avoid a mental letdown against Zverev, who at 21 will be the grizzled veteran on the court? Zverev is the defending Citi Open champion, is ranked 68 spots ahead of De Minaur, and will come into this match comparatively well-rested after his routine semifinal win over Stefanos Tsitsipas. Still, Zverev barely edged De Minaur in five sets, in their only meeting, in Davis Cup earlier this year. The German has also been known to let his opponents hang around longer than they should. As he proved last night, De Minaur is not a guy you want to give a second chance. Winner: Zverev

WATCH —Highlights from Zverev's semifinal win over Tsitsipas:

2. Donna Vekic [7] vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova 

At 33, 14 years after she won her first major at the US Open, Kuznetsova has risen again. Did you ever doubt that she would? Until this week, the Russian had won just four matches in 2018; now she’s won four more, all in straight sets, at the Citi Open. In fact, she hasn’t lost more than two games in any of the eight sets she’s played. 

Can Vekic stop, or at least slow, the Sveta train? The young Croatian has been on a mini-roll of her own, having reached the semifinals in Nottingham, the round of 16 at Wimbledon—which included a win over Sloane Stephens—and now her first final of 2018 in D.C. Her road was a little rockier than Kuznetsova’s though; Vekic had to win two matches on Saturday, and she had to survive a 15-13 third-set tiebreaker against Fanny Stollar in her second match. Sometimes winning a match like that can make you feel as if you’re playing with house money, and Vekic has beaten Kuznetsova in one of their two previous meetings. But this feels like the veteran’s week. Winner: Kuznetsova

ATP & WTA Washington D.C.
Catch all the action from the Citi Open with live coverage from three courts on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Monday, July 30th at 2:00 PM ET. All matches also available on-demand.

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