Italian Jannik Sinner, the ATP’s top-ranked teen, advanced to the Citi Open final on Saturday by ousting US 20-year-old wildcard Jenson Brooksby 7-6 (7/2), 6-1.
World number 24 Sinner seeks his third ATP crown after Sofia last November and Melbourne in January.
Sinner will play for the Washington hardcourt title on Sunday against the winner of a later semi-final between American Mackenzie McDonald and Japan’s Kei Nishikori.
At age 19, Sinner became the first Italian finalist in the event’s 52-year history. He was the Italian in the Washington final four in a quarter-century.
The 2020 French Open quarter-finalist was the only seed in the last four. Three unseeded players hadn’t reached the Washington semis since a switch from clay in 1987.
Brooksby, ranked 130th but set to crack the top 100 next week, was a runner-up in July at Newport in his first ATP final.
Brooksby had not defeated a top-75 foe before this week but rolled over four such players without dropping a set in Washington until facing Sinner.
Strong serves and tough rallies spiced the Next Gen showdown, Sinner netting a backhand volley in the 11th game to squander the first break chance, then denying Brooksby on three break points in the 12th game.
Sinner took the last four points in the tie-breaker on an ace and service winner followed by wide and netted backhands from Brooksby.
In the second set, Sinner broke in the fourth game and sixth games to claim the match in 90 minutes.
Sinner won 83% of points on his first serve and 70% of those on his second serve.
Sinner, who turns 20 a week from Monday, wants to be part of a new wave of young tennis stars.
“I think tennis needs some new guys,” he said this week. “I think they are coming slowly, slowly. We are many, many great young players, making a little bit of next generation as well. I think it’s nice to see.”
World number 67 Nishikori, playing his first ATP semi-final since April 2019 at Barcelona, could reach his first ATP final since January 2019 at Brisbane, where he won the most recent of his 12 career titles.
Nishikori, 31, was the 2015 Washington champion and 2014 US Open runner-up.
World number 107 McDonald, seeking his first ATP final at age 26, reached his only prior semi-final in 2019 at Delray Beach.