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Citi Open 2017: Top-seed Simona Halep succumbs to heat; Alexander Zverev storms into semis
op-seeded Simona Halep, the second-ranked women’s tennis player in the world, retired from her Citi Open quarterfinal match Friday afternoon because of illness brought on by the heat.
Halep was trailing No. 7 seed Ekaterina Makarova, 1-0, in the third set when she called the trainer over early and appeared to have her blood pressure taken, after which she immediately retired.
“I had a headache,” Halep said, “and little sick, so it was better to stop.”
Halep won the first set, 6-2, before dropping the second, 6-3. She has played midafternoon matches all week and took a medical timeout for heat during her match Thursday, after which she requested to play later in the day Friday. The crowded tournament schedule, however, didn’t allow it.
The temperature was 90 degrees in Washington at the time of Halep’s match Friday.
Makarova, a Russian ranked 58th in the world, advanced to face either Sabine Lisicki or fifth-seeded Oceane Dodin in the semifinals.
“The sun just took so much energy,” Makarova said. “Simona, she’s a great player, No. 2 in the world, so it’s always tough to play against her. I was just trying to stay in the game, do what I can to fight, do what I can do in that moment as fast as I can.”
Zverev storms into semifinals
Fifth-seeded Alexander Zverev made quick work of Daniil Medvedev on Friday, taking less than an hour to beat the Russian 6-2, 6-4, to clinch his second consecutive appearance in the Citi Open semifinals. The 20-year-old advances to play either second-seeded Kei Nishikori, the 2015 champion, or former junior circuit foe Tommy Paul on Saturday.
Zverev, the eight-ranked player in the world, is the highest-ranked player remaining in the men’s field with Dominic Thiem having been eliminated. He won 83 points off his first serve and broke Medvedev three times in front of a boisterous Friday evening crowd.
“I love the atmosphere,” Zverev said after the match. “I love the people in Washington, it’s a great crowd — pretty young crowd, as well. They’re always very very loud, so it’s always fun to play.”
Bryan brothers advance
Bob and Mike Bryan’s 7-5, 6-4 win against the doubles pair of Rohan Bopanna and Donald Young propelled them into the Citi Open doubles semifinals Friday, where the fourth-seeded brothers will play the second-seeded doubles pair of Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo.
The Bryan brothers are the most successful men’s duo of all time, having won more games, matches, tournaments and Grand Slams — 16 — than any other men’s pairing. They won the gold medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. And they have yet to lose a set in this year’s Citi Open.
Stephens and Bouchard advance
Spectators sat expectantly, on the metal benches at Grandstand 1, anxiously waiting for Sloane Stephens to serve for match point.
Some of them had their phones out. A couple had cameras. But all erupted in cheers when Monica Niculescu’s return of serve went out of bounds.
Stephens and Eugenie Bouchard hugged. They smiled. They had just toppled the highest-ranked doubles team at the Citi Open — Niculescu and Sania Mirza — 1-6, 7-5, 10-8, in the women’s doubles semifinals. Now, Bouchard and Stephens are in the finals, where they will face Shuko Aoyama and Renata Voracova.
It was a shocking result for several reasons. Bouchard and Stephens lost the first set by a huge margin. They trailed 4-3 in the second set before storming back. But perhaps the biggest reason is that they have never played together. So they’re still trying to develop their most effective strategy.
“Our strategy is actually no strategy,” Bouchard said. “So if we don’t know what we’re doing, our opponents for sure don’t know what we’re doing.”