Day 1 Qualifying Recap at 2016 Citi Open: Falla Wins Battle
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
A steamy day 1 at the 2016 Citi Open Qualifying held true to form, as most of the favored players advanced with ease into the second round of qualifying matches. On the ATP side, Matthew Barton, Alex Kuznetsov, Alexander Sarkissian, Marinko Matosevic, James Duckworth, Ernesto Escobedo and Amir Weintraub all turned away their opponents without dropping a set, or facing the threat of doing so.
The lone competitive qualifying match on the men’s side today was Alejandro Falla’s 6-3 3-6 7-6(4) victory over Mackenzie McDonald. The veteran took to stadium court, and was more consistent than his younger opponent. McDonald was relatively strong on serve, but spewed too many groundstroke errors when it counted, and although Falla squandered break point chances in the third set, including a match point up 5-4 on his opponent’s serve, he went on to win the final set tiebreak. Prior to that tiebreak, both games featured breaks of serve, and McDonald was broken serving for the match. With more ATP experience, McDonald will be able to convert tiring battles from losses, into wins, but as it stands he appeared to slow down his game in the heat.
The WTA matches were generally closer. Jennifer Elie, playing in her fifth qualifying in Washington, lost in three to Lin Zhu. Jarmila Wolfe (formerly Gajdosova and Groth) played her first match since undergoing shoulder surgery and made it three sets against Hiroko Kuwata of Japan before Kuwata pulled away decisively in the third set, 6-4, 7-5, 6-0. 17-year-old Raveena Kingsley, who resides just 40 miles away in Baltimore, also went three, with another Japanese player, Shuko Aoyoma, also serving up a bagel in the final stanza and winning 6-3, 2-6, 6-0. Alla Kudryavtseva, known locally for playing WTT tennis for the Washington Kastles in 2013, was a three set winner against Danielle Lao, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3. Varvara Flink, Sanaz Marand, Shilin Xu and Lauren Albanese were also winners.