Griekspoor, Evans Reach Mubadala Citi DC Open Final

Tallon Griekspoor (photo: Mike Lawrence/Mubadala Citi DC Open)

WASHINGTON, August 6, 2023 (by Michael Dickens)

Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor garnered the first Top-10 triumph of his career at the Mubadala Citi DC Open Saturday night. It came at the expense of World No. 9 and top seed Taylor Fritz of the United States, who was vying for his second straight ATP Tour hard-court title after winning the Atlanta Open last week.

The 37th-ranked Griekspoor from Haarlem, Netherlands, who has surged to No. 25 in the live rankings, defeated a fading Fritz, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. It snapped a seven-match winning streak by the American No. 1, who came into Saturday evening’s match having pulled double duty on Friday by playing both his third round and quarterfinal matches due to a rainout on Thursday night.

“[I’m] happy with the win,” Griekspoor said in his post-match news conference. “Beating American No. 1 here in Washington, Taylor – top-10 player – is something really special. Making another final feels great.”

In his debut in the nation’s capital city, the 12th-seeded Griekspoor benefited from three service breaks – one in the second set and two more in the third – against Fritz, who had won 80 of 82 service games coming into the semifinal match. He struck 13 aces and hit 40 winners. Fritz countered with 30 winners but it was not nearly enough.

“He was just better. He played really well,” Fritz said afterward. “When he broke me in the second and when he broke me in the third, he played, like, incredible games. I don’t think I did anything wrong in those games. …I think he played exceptionally well.”

Griekspoor came on strong at the end, winning 20 of the final 27 points of the match as well as five straight games from 1-2 in the third set.

Now, the 27-year-old Griekspoor, who already has won a pair of 250-level tournaments this year, will go after his third ATP Tour title of the season against 33-year-old No. 9 seed Daniel Evans of Great Britain, who beat fifth seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, 6-3, 7-6 (4), by saving all four break points he faced. Evans displayed patience and determination throughout, finishing with only 10 unforced errors while evening his career head-to-head with Dimitrov at 3-3. It will be the first ATP 500 final both finalists.

Evans had not won a tour-level match since April before coming to Washington, D.C. this week. Like Griekspoor, he was forced into extra duty on Friday but emerged with a pair of satisfying wins.

“It was so hard after yesterday putting in such a big effort,” Evans said in his on-court interview. “Coming back today it was really important to not roll over and have a bad performance. The last few months that has happened a little bit. I’m really proud I could do that today. One more to go.”

The 30th-ranked Evans withstood 24 winners from No. 20 Dimitrov while also contributing towards the Bulgarian committing 30 unforced errors. Although Evans hit just nine winners, none was bigger than the one he hit near the end of the one-hour, 56-minute match – a cross-court volley that came after he surprised Dimitrov with a lovely and surprising drop shot. He closed with a solid cross-court volley winner.

Now, Evans will be chasing after the second title of his career Sunday evening at Rock Creek Park as the first British finalist in the tournament since Andy Murray in 2006.

Argentine duo reaches men’s double final

Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni, both of Argentina, are 3-0 in ATP Tour finals this season after winning titles on clay in Cordoba, Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona (the last two as qualifiers). On Saturday, they defeated Belgian pair Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4), in an hour and 58 minutes to advance to Sunday’s final against American duo Mackenzie McDonald and Ben Shelton.

Championship Sunday order of play