Rublev Nishioka Washington 2022 SF | ATP Tour

Yoshihito NishiokaThe unforgettable week just keeps getting better.

The Japanese left-hander continued his impressive run in Washington on Saturday night as he stunned the top seed Andrei Rublev 6-3, 6-4 to achieve that City open Final. The 26-year-old plays the champion of 2019 Nick Kyrgios for the trophy.

“I love playing here, I’ve been here many times. But for tomorrow everyone loves Nick too. Hopefully still her… the crowd, [cheers for] me, but only [going to] enjoy the day tomorrow,” Nishioka said in his on-court interview. “[It is my] first time [in a] finally in a 500, so [I will] only [try to] play my best and [I am] excited.”

At the start of the week, Nishioka hadn’t won a tour-level match since Miami in March. But in July he won five of his seven matches on the ATP Challenger Tour and carried that momentum to the United States capital where he now has a win of the biggest trophy of his career.

Nishioka has lost all three of his previous ATP Head2Head matches against Kyrgios. Their last meeting came three years ago in the round of 16, a clash the Australian won 6-2, 7-5 en route to the title.

“We’ve played many times before, but since then he’s beat me every time [we were] 16 years old. It’s really hard to play against him,” said Nishioka. “He has no pace, he hits the ball so hard every time and most of his serves [too]the [makes it] very hard to break his service games. The most important thing is that I have to focus on my service games.”

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But Nishioka’s confidence is rising. The Japanese star defeated last week’s Atlanta finalists to finish second Jenson Brooksby and master Alex from Minaur in the first two rounds before the seventh seed was eliminated Karen Khachanov and 16th seed Daniel Evans to reach the last four.

It took Nishioka three hours and 35 minutes to finish off Evans on Friday but physically had no trouble playing shot-to-shot with Rublev, one of the ATP Tour’s strongest players.

“Today I felt very tired before the game started and I certainly felt that [couldn’t] do the same as against Evans and Khachanov,” said Nishioka. “I tried to be a bit aggressive because I knew that Andrey would play aggressively against me. I had to play a bit aggressive towards him.”

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The top seed struggled to control his forehand against the consistent left-hander. Rublev kept pushing that wing, knowing how quick Nishioka is behind the baseline, and that continued aggression became his undoing.

The world No. 8 missed a break point with forehand to lose serve in consecutive service games. While Nishioka returned the first of those breaks of serve, he kept it on the second and served out the match to advance to his first ATP 500 final.

Did you know?
World No. 96 Nishioka is 54th in the Pepperstone ATP Live rankings and will climb to 42nd if he defeats Kyrgios in the final.

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