Top class Andrey Rublev completed part one of a two-step mission to reach the semifinals of the Citi Open on Friday, beating American Maxime Cressy 6-4, 7-6(8) in the early game.
The game was originally scheduled for Thursday, but was postponed due to heavy rain, forcing Rublev to play and win two games on Friday if he wants to reach the final four in Washington, DC.
In hot and humid conditions, the world number 8 got off to a hot start against serve-and-volleyer Cressy, who forced the 24-year-old to consistently make high-quality passes. “To be honest it’s super hard to deal with this kind of style because you have to be 100% focused; you never know what to expect,” said the 2018 DC semifinalist.
Rublev was dominant in the first set, broke in the third game and won all 14 of his first service points.
The turning point in the second set came with Cressy serving at 5/3 in the tie-break. The 6’6” former UCLA star ran to the net after a blistering serve and had a routine smash on top of the net to get three set points. Cressy fired the smash straight at Rublev, who, despite being just inside the baseline, bounced back an easy overhead that sent Cressy wide.
Rublev later admitted that he thought the second set was over when Cressy had the mini-break. “In my mind the second set was done and I will just do my best to finish the second and I will fight for the third,” Rublev recalled.
Having already won three titles this season (Marseille, Dubai, Belgrade), a title this week would put Rublev on par with Spaniards Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz for the most titles of the year. He will continue his quest for the Citi Open when he faces JJ Wolf in the quarter-finals later in the day. It will be the first game of the leading group against the 23-year-old.
Wolf, who was awarded a wildcard to Washington, DC, is in his first Tour level quarterfinal after beating Holger Rune 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. The former Ohio state star, who has won the last four games, now climbs to a career-high 83 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.
Wimbledon finalist Nick Kyrgios needed just 14 minutes to complete his Round of 16 match against Reilly Opelka today. Opelka resumed the match at 1-2, 0/30. Kyrgios immediately put his authority on the game by breaking into that game and never gave up on momentum as he rode to a 7-6(1), 6-2 win.
The 2019 Citi Open champion won’t get much rest today as he faces DC resident Frances Tiafoe tonight for his quarterfinal doubles with partner, Jack Sock.