Citi Open Stars Nick Kyrgios, Daniil Medvedev and Jessica Pegula Shine Down Under
Kyrgios Wins Singles & Saves Four Match Points in Doubles Decider to Lead Australia to Semifinals
Citi Open’s brightest stars are starting 2020 on the right foot Down Under.
In his first event of the season, Citi Open champion Nick Kyrgios lifted Australia to the semifinals of the inaugural ATP Cup with a thrilling 2-1 win over Great Britain in Sydney. The former world No.13 and his compatriot Alex de Minaur saved four match points in the doubles decider against Britain’s Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury to defeat the pair, 3-6, 6-3, 18-16, after a half-hour Super-tiebreak that brought the sellout crowd inside Ken Rosewall Arena to its feet.
Kyrgios charmed the largely hometown fans early by scoring the first win of the tie over Cameron Norrie, 6-2, 6-2, in classic Nick style – hitting tweeners, underhand serves, and blistering forehands - but a three-and-a-half-hour battle which saw De Minaur fall to Dan Evans, 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(2), leveled the tie, putting the host country in danger of crashing out of the Cup in the quarterfinals.
With the Cup on the line, and a raucous crowd heavily invested in the outcome, Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt made a quick, bold decision to change his lineup, replacing doubles specialists John Peers and Chris Guccione (who won all three Group F doubles matches) for Kyrgios and De Minaur.
The duo rose to the occasion under pressure, holding nothing back in front of their home crowd in Ken Rosewall Arena
“Today was probably one of the best moments in my career, definitely,” said Kyrgios. “Just making it through to the semi-final, the first-ever ATP Cup in that type of fashion, was pretty special. We genuinely care for each other and were genuinely just so ecstatic to get through.”
Australia ultimately yielded to Spain in the semifinals, 3-0.
Medvedev Delivers for Russia
Elsewhere, Team Russia secured their spot in the semis with a sweep over Argentina.
World No. 5 and 2019 Citi Open finalist Daniil Medvedev sealed the semifinal berth for his country, clinching a gritty 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win over the ever feisty world No.13 Diego Schwartzman. After dropping the second set, Medvedev regrouped in the decider, breaking the Argentinian in the eighth game with a blazing backhand winner and holding the momentum to finish line. The Russian improved to a 3-0 record against Schwartzman after his victory in Sydney.
“It was a super tough match. Physically, [it] was really tough,” Medvedev said. “But that I won this match is most important, and I’m really happy about it.”
Moscow native and current world No.17 Karen Khachanov gave his teammates a boost, saving five-of-six breakpoints to beat Guido Pella in straight sets, 6-2, 7-6(4), and score the first win of the tie for Russia.
In the semis, Russia fell to Serbia, the inaugural champions, 3-0. Led by world No.2 Novak Djokovic, the Serbians beat Spain, 2-1 for the Cup.
Citi Open Stars Score Big for Bushfire Relief, Over 1,100 Aces and Counting
At the end of Day 7 of the ATP Cup, officials announced that, to date, 1,160 aces have been hit at the inaugural world team competition, meaning Tennis Australia’s Aces for Bushfire Relief has now raised $116,000 for the Australian Red Cross Bushfire Relief. The host tennis federation and ATP have pledged to donate $100 for every ace hit over the course of the event.
Reigning Citi Open champ Nick Kyrgios finished the ace leader. By the end of his quarterfinal win over Great Britain, the Australian superstar scored a whopping 57 total aces. Meanwhile, fellow Citi Open star and 2019 singles finalist Daniil Medvedev scored 14 aces in his quarterfinal match alone. Great work, guys!
Citi Open Champion Jessica Pegula Upsets Former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki to Reach Final in Auckland
Citi Open women’s champ Jessica Pegula also had a thrilling week Down Under.
The 25-year-old daughter of Buffalo Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula came back from a set down to beat No.5 seed and former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0, to reach the final of the ASB Classic in Auckland.
"It’s definitely one of my bigger wins, playing someone of that stature, who’s also retiring," said Pegula, after the victory. "I’m glad I got to play her, and I’m glad I got to come out with the win. It is definitely up there win-wise, especially to go to a final."
The win earned Pegula her third career WTA singles final appearance, and her first since she won her maiden WTA singles title at the Citi Open last summer. The world No.64 played strong, aggressive tennis throughout the tournament. She failed to drop a set, until the semis, and twice scored bagel sets against her early round opponents, including French former world No.11 Alizé Cornet, who was forced to retire, down 0-6, 2-3, in the quarterfinals.
"I thought I played smart, I thought I was moving pretty well, I scrambled out a couple of points," said Pegula. "I thought I was picking my shots well, and kind of going off of based on how I was feeling. If things were clicking, I would go for it; if not, I would play conservative."
Pegula scored another bagel set against Wozniacki to close out the Danish former Australian Open champ.
After dropping the first set, Pegula fought back to even the match with gutsy play that appeared to break Wozniacki’s spirit.
After a love service hold to open the third set, Pegula swiftly broke the Danish champ to take a 2-0 lead. It was smooth sailing from that point on for the American, as her winner count steadily increased, seemingly flummoxing Wozniacki at every turn. Pegula never faced a break point in the final set, as she eased to a 5-0 lead, before finishing off her opponent on her second match point with a ferocious forehand winner.
In the final, Pegula was stopped by 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, who scored her first title in three years, and her first since becoming a mother, 6-3, 6-4.