WASHINGTON (AP) Alexander Zverev dropped his opening set at the Citi Open and had to survive a third-set tiebreaker to avoid an upset in the first round.
From there, the 20-year-old German dominated.
The eighth-ranked Zverev easily dispatched South African veteran Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4 on Sunday to win the Washington event for his fourth ATP title of the year, matching Rafael Nadal's victory total. Only Roger Federer has more titles this season, with five.
Zverev didn't lose a set after that opening match against Jordan Thompson and grew stronger as the tournament went on, having little trouble with the hot and humid conditions in Washington or the late nights brought on by rain delays.
The win was Zverev's first of his career on an outdoor hard court and gives him momentum heading into the U.S. Open, which starts Aug. 28.
Anderson, 31, came in with a tournament-best 62 aces, but Zverev got enough first serves back to give himself ample break opportunities. Zverev broke Anderson early in each set and never faced a break point on his own serve.
Zverev's previous titles this year came at a Masters event on clay in Rome, along with wins on clay in Munich and on indoor hard courts in Montpellier, France.
Seeking his fourth career title and first since 2015, Anderson looked shaky early, double-faulting twice and surviving two break points in the opening game. Serving at 15-40 at 1-1 in the first set, Anderson hit a short ball deep to Zverev's backhand. Zverev got it back and Anderson hit an overhead into the net.
In the second set, an error by Anderson at 30-40 in the first game gave Zverev another break, and the German was hardly challenged from there.
In the women's final later Sunday, Julia Goerges of Germany was facing Ekaterina Markova of Russia.
Notes: Top-seeded Henri Kontinen of Finland and John Peers of Australia won the men's doubles title 7-6 (5), 6-4 over second-seeded Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Marcelo Melo of Brazil. ... NBA rookie of the year Malcolm Brogdon of the Milwaukee Bucks, a Virginia graduate, attended Sunday's finals. ''I've been training in D.C. all summer,'' Brogdon said. ''It's like home to me.''
Follow Ben Nuckols on Twitter at https://twitter.com/APBenNuckols