Former Champions Rule The Monday at Citi Open
Radek Stepanek was elated after a 7-6(3), 6-3 victory over American Steve Johnson yesterday. The 2011 ATP Washington champion kicked off the first men’s main draw match on Stadium Court at the 2013 Citi Open in Washington, and Steps was good-natured throughout our exclusive Tennis Panorama video stand-up with the doubles legend. Here’s a look.
Stepanek’s next opponent is Michael Llodra. The head-to-head is 5-1 in favor of Stepanek.
Prior to Stepanek’s match, 2012 Champion Magdalena Rybarikova made an impressive comeback over Christina McHale on Stadium, delivering 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.
In yet another exclusive video stand-up, Magdalena Rybarikova spoke of reaching a career high inside the top 40 last month and her 2012 run through the field in Washington.
She, too, was feeling good after making it through to the Round of 16. She has a title to defend and Magda knew how important it is to make it out of those first round trap matches.
Rybarikova will play a second round rematch of a 2012 battle with her Slovakian compatriot, Jana Cepelova. Cepelova also needed to come from behind to make the rematch happen. She rallied from 6-4, 0-6, 6-3 against Kiki Bertens.
Andrea Petkovic handled Jessica Pegula easily, 6-2, 7-5. Paula Ormaechea overcame an overwhelmingly pro-Beatrice Capra crowd to dominate 6-1, 6-1. Capra is yet another graduate of the Junior Tennis Champions Center in nearby College Park, Maryland and a Duke Blue Devil. She is coached by Usue Arconada‘s coach, Frank Salazar, and received a wild card from tournament management.
And finally, the big upset. Two seed Sloane Stephens received a hasty exit from Washington from the racket of Olga Puchkova. The 7-5, 6-3 win puts Puchkova in a nice position in the next round. She’ll face Paula Ormaechea for a chance to make the quarterfinals.
Just hours after finishing the celebration of another World Team Tennis Championship with her Washington Kastles teammates, Anastasia Rodionova couldn’t repeat, as Melanie Oudin did the celebrating instead by a final score of 7-5, 6-3.
In ATP play, the big news was not an upset but a three-set victory for returning veteran Mardy Fish. Fish started slowly but found his groove over qualifier Matt Ebden, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3. Xavier Malisse also needed three sets to advance over Rajeev Ram, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Australian Sam Groth has not been the crowd favorite for three matches in a row now. Today, the capacity crowd on Grandstand 1 was overwhelmingly stacked with friends and supporters of Denis Kudla, who was raised in Washington. Groth didn’t seem to care, as he outserved the Junior Tennis Champion Center alumnus 7-6(2), 6-2.
Denis Istomin out-dueled Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 6-4 and David Goffin beat Yen-Hsun Lu 6-4, 6-4.
Rhyne Williams couldn’t take advantage of his lucky loser status and lost again, this time to University of Virginia standout and crowd fave Somdev Devvarman, 7-5, 6-1.
In the men’s nightcaps, Lukas Lacko made adjustments and scraped by Alejandro Falla by a score of 1-6, 6-4, 6-4. Marinko Matosevic dusted James Blake 6-2, 7-6(6). Blake had a decent run in Atlanta, so the showing will be a disappointment to the veteran. The final men’s match of the night to conclude was a three set victory for Tobias Kamke over Ricardas Berankis, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Tuesday headliners on Stadium Court: Angelique Kerber vs. Irina Falconi, followed by Somdev Devvarman and 2012 Champion Alexandr Dolgopolov, followed by Lleyton Hewitt/Ryan Harrison followed by Denis Istomin and Sam Querrey, and concluding with Nikolay Daydenko vs. Marinko Matosevic.
I’m all out of bold. I’m going to bed.
—Steve Fogleman (submitted for TennisPanorama.com)