(Reuters) – Germany’s Alexander Zverev beat Australian teenager Alex de Minaur 6-2 6-4 to defend his Citi Open title in Washington on Sunday.
Zverev’s serve played a big role in the victory, his third of the year, as the world number three won all but two of his first-serve points in the final, which lasted 74 minutes.
The 21-year-old German, now winner of nine career victories, became the tournament’s first repeat champion since Argentine Juan Martin del Potro prevailed in 2008-09.
An obviously struggling De Minaur dropped the opening four games of the first set, but fought back in second.
The Australian drew the crowd’s applause when he hit an inside-in winner to hold for 3-4, after saving three break points to avoid a double-break deficit.
He saved two match points on his own serve at 3-5 but Zverev clinched the victory when De Minaur hit a backhand into the net in the next game.
Although beaten, De Minaur, once ranked 208 in the world, will soar into the top 50 for the first time when the new rankings are produced on Monday, rising 27 spots to number 45.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; editing by Clare Fallon)