Fritz, Donaldson Lead Citi Open Monday ATP Winners
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
After rain delayed the start of first round ATP action at the 2016 Citi Open on Monday, the matches took to the court, and all of them were able to be completed with a late night finish in Washington.
Young Americans Taylor Fritz and Jared Donaldson were big winners on the day. Fritz rolled past Israeli veteran Dudi Sela 6-4 6-3 in just under an hour and a half. It was domination for Fritz, as he wasn’t broken in the match. This result should boost his confidence heading into a second round contest with fellow young gun Alexander Zverev, in which he’ll be an underdog.
Donaldson took two hours to defeat fellow qualifier Vincent Millot 5-7 6-2 6-4. It was huge of him to take control of the match from a set down and reverse course to grab a victory. A long first set saw three breaks of serve, with the key one going to Millot. In the third set Donaldson was 5-1 up, but nearly let Millot claw back, eventually closing the match out on his first and only match point opportunity at 5-4 serving.
Bjorn Fratangelo defeated fellow American Alex Kuznetsov 4-6 6-2 6-4, completing a comeback like Donaldson did in two hours of play. Players with D.C. ties were not as lucky however. Denis Kudla continued his struggles, losing to John Millman 7-5 6-0, and Frances Tiafoe battled hard in a red eye match against Adrian Mannarino, but the veteran Frenchman prevailed 7-6(4) 7-5. In both sets, Tiafoe served up a break, and in fact he was 3-0 up in the second set, but the pressure got to him, and Mannarino was able to come back and capture both sets, breaking Tiafoe when the young American was serving for a second set tiebreak, that could have led to a third set.
In other action, Dan Evans dominated Benjamin Becker and came up with some stunning shots, the Brit won 6-2 6-1. James Duckworth rolled past Tim Smyczek 7-5 6-1, and fellow Aussie Jordan Thompson joined him in the winners circle, 6-3 6-2 against the struggling Victor Estrella.
In the lone upset on the day, Yuichi Sugita knocked off Vasek Pospisil after getting breadsticked in the first set. That match finished 1-6 6-2 7-6(4) with a thrilling closing act. The final set featured no breaks of serve, as the big serving Pospisil was steady, but faltered in the tiebreak. It’s been a rough season for the Canadian, and he looks almost certain to fall out of the top 100 now, after just five main draw wins this season.
Looking ahead to Tuesday in Washington, along with the completion of first round ATP action, Grigor Dimitrov will face Evans, Alex Dolgopolov will face Thompson, Donaldson will be opposite Benoit Paire, Fratangelo faces Sam Querrey, and Mannarino will look to oust another American, Steve Johnson. Brian Baker will pull double duty as he plays both singles and doubles on Tuesday.