Quarterfinal Friday at the Citi Open lived up to the hype. Everywhere fans looked, they could find a high-stakes matchup with winners advancing to the final four.
Jack Sock upset No. 3 seed and 2014 Citi Open champion Milos Raonic 7-5, 6-4, maintaining the possibility of seeing American men’s champion for the first time since Andy Roddick in 2007.
“[Milos and I] always have close matches,” said 19th-ranked Sock. “I would like to say I took care of my serve well, and I was able to scrap out my defensive points and stay in points very well today.”
Sock, who has an opportunity to move back into the top 15 if he reaches the final, has had issues with cramping in his career, but said he felt comfortable on another hot day in D.C.
“It’s Washington, D.C. in August, so we’re all used to [the heat],” he added. “I felt great all week on court, knock on wood. That gives me confidence going into the heat of the summer.”
Sock will face big-serving Kevin Anderson in the semifinals, who backed up Thursday’s upset of top seed Dominic Thiem with a three-set win over qualifier Yuki Bhambri of India. Anderson and Sock have played three times over the past two years, splitting their two meetings on hard court.
World No. 225 American Tommy Paul would have joined Sock in the final four – and pulled off the upset of the tournament – if it weren’t for relentless No. 2 seed Kei Nishikori. Nishikori fought off a 3-5 deficit and three match points in the second set before closing out the match 3-6, 7-6(8), 6-4. Alexander Zverev, who won his quarterfinal match against Daniil Medvedev in 55 minutes, awaits the world No. 9.
World No. 2 Simona Halep didn’t fare as well in the midday sun. The top-seeded Romanian was forced to retire trailing Ekaterina Makarova 2-6, 6-3, 1-0 due to heat-related illness.
“I am better now,” she said after the match. “I felt a little bit sick, and I couldn’t continue. I had a headache and felt sick and it was better to stop.”
Makarova, a former singles world No. 8, earned her first semifinal appearance of the year with Halep’s retirement.
“Simona is a great player – No. 2 in the world – and it’s always great to play against her,” Makarova said. “I do what I can in the moment. I’m sad that we didn’t finish, but here in Washington, it’s always hot.”
World No. 40 Julia Goerges slid into the semifinals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 6 seed Monica Niculescu, setting up an all-German semifinal with Andrea Petkovic. A two-time finalist this season, Goerges could be a dark horse to take home the title.
In doubles action, two-time Grand Slam champions Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares saved seven match points, defeating James Cerretani and Marc Polmans 2-6, 6-3, 19-17 (NINETEEN SEVENTEEN!) for a spot in the semifinals. They’ll get top seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers next. Murray and Peers are former teammates, which adds an additional layer of intrigue.
Genie Bouchard and Sloane Stephens are final bound after two wins on Friday. They began by outlasting Nigina Abduraimova and Patricia Maria Tig after Tig was forced to retire with an injury trailing 2-6, 0-1. They reentered Grandstand 2 on Friday night for a repeat performance, ousting former doubles No. 1 Sania Mirza and recent Wimbledon finalist Monica Niculescu 1-6, 7-5, 10-8.