WASHINGTON (AP) — Setting up the first all-Canadian final on the men’s tennis tour, 13th-seeded Vasek Pospisil edged sixth-seeded Richard Gasquet of France 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-5 Saturday night at the Citi Open, where he’ll face Milos Raonic for the title.
On a muggy evening, Pospisil was two points from losing while trailing 5-4 in the third set. But he came back to hold serve there, then broke in the next game when Gasquet’s signature backhand broke down and produced three errors.
Pospisil dropped his racket on the court behind the baseline and raised his arms after ending the match by serving it out at love, including a pair of aces at 124 mph (200 kph) and 128 mph (206 kph). He reached his first career final — and won for the second time Saturday.
Article continues below ...
About 7 1/2 hours earlier, Posposil finished off a rain-interrupted 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4 quarterfinal victory against 10th-seeded Santiago Giraldo of Colombia. That match was suspended Friday night, two points into the third set.
On Sunday, Pospisil will meet the second-seeded Raonic, who advanced by beating Donald Young of the United States 6-4, 7-5.
The ATP said it’ll be the first time in the Open era, which began in 1968, that two Canadian men faced each other in a tournament final.
Raonic, 23, was born in Montenegro, moved to Canada at age 3, and now lives in Monte Carlo. He was a semifinalist at Wimbledon last month and owns five career titles.
Pospisil, 24, was born in British Columbia and now lives in the Bahamas. He won this year’s men’s doubles title at the All England Club with Jack Sock of the United States.
The two Canadians played each other once before on tour: Raonic won their semifinal at Montreal in August 2013.
So Pospisil already knows what Young learned Saturday about Raonic’s dangerous serve.
"It’s like Monopoly," Young said. "He has a bunch of `Get out of jail free’ cards."
Powered by serves that reached 143 mph (231 kph) and resulted in 15 aces, Raonic reached his first final of the season. He won 34 of 37 first-serve points and never faced a break point.
"It’s one thing to look at him, but it’s another to be on the other side, receiving those things," said Young’s mother and coach, Illona.
Explained Young, a 25-year-old from Atlanta: "Against a player like that, with a serve like that, it’s only going to be small windows. And you have to be there to take advantage and be `Johnny on the spot’ — and I wasn’t able to do that today."
Raonic broke Young in the last game of each set.
"I’m extremely satisfied to see him playing so well on the big points so early in the hard-court season," said Raonic’s coach, Ivan Ljubicic.
In the women’s semifinals, Kurumi Nara of Japan dropped the first eight games before coming back to beat Marina Erakovic of New Zealand 0-6, 6-4, 6-4. The unseeded Nara reached the second WTA singles final of her career.
Trailing by such a large margin early, Nara said she "was panicking" but then "tried to … relax."
On Sunday, Nara will face No. 2-seeded Ekaterina Makarova or No. 6 Svetlana Kuznetsova, a two-time Grand Slam title winner. Their semifinal was scheduled for Saturday night.