Favorites Advance at Citi Open on Wednesday
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
A full day of play on Wednesday at the 2016 Citi Open saw most of the favorites advance into the next round. On the women’s side, Yanina Wickmayer beat Shuai Zhang 6-3 7-5, Lauren Davis won an All-American battle with Shelby Rogers 5-7 7-5 6-3, Kristina Mladenovic got past Samantha Crawford 6-2 2-6 6-3, and Yulia Putintseva defeated local favorite Usue Arconada 6-4 4-6 6-4 in a nearly two and a half hour battle. The oft injured Jessica Pegula upset Christina McHale 7-5 6-2. and top seed Sam Stosur advanced 5-7 4-3 (ret.) against fan favorite Caroline Wozniacki. Wozniacki hurt her arm late in the first set, and although she won that set, she was eventually in too much pain to carry on.
In ATP second round action, four American men advanced to the round of 16, led by top seed John Isner, who dominated proceedings against overmatched Australian James Duckworth 6-3 6-4. Jack Sock beat Lukas Lacko 7-6 6-4 in a nip and tuck battle, Steve Johnson had more depth and power on his shots compared to Adrian Mannarino and won 6-3 6-4, and Ryan Harrison upset Viktor Troicki with solid defensive minded tennis 7-6 6-4. Troicki had his chances in the match, but was left frustrated by Harrison’s ability to chase down shots from the baseline and counter Troicki’s more powerful tennis. Johnson has won 12 of his last 15 matches and is in great form himself.
Young gun American Taylor Fritz wasn’t as lucky, he fell 6-4 6-2 to Alexander Zverev. The first set was a long one, as Zverev had to save five break points serving up a break 2-1. Fritz didn’t get another shot to break in the set, and Zverev took it. After facing four break points on his own serve in the opening game of set 2, Fritz was broken serving 1-1, and at that point you saw the will to fight leave him like a deflated balloon. Fritz is talented, but Zverev won most baseline rallies, was much stronger on serve, and showed why he’s ranked 30 spots higher in the ATP rankings.
Big servers Gilles Muller, and Ivo Karlovic advanced, Muller was too imposing for the undersized Yoshihito Nishioka and won 6-4 6-1. Karlovic edged past Brian Baker 6-3 7-6, as Baker was too shaky on his own serve against a player as strong as Karlovic. Kevin Anderson continued his woeful season and was upset however. Malek Jaziri won his second third set tiebreak in as many days 5-7 6-4 7-6. Jaziri was steely in his own right, while Anderson faltered when it mattered.
Gael Monfils and Borna Coric will meet in the round of 16. Monfils showed off his movement and shotmaking against Rendy Lu. Lu didn’t have an answer as he lost 6-3 6-2. Monfils was in good mood, and won 100% of his first serve points in the first set. Coric advanced with ease 6-4 6-4 over Yuichi Sugita, as he faced practically no pressure on his own serve, but pressured Sugita in multiple return games.
In late action, Bernard Tomic defeated Donald Young 7-6 6-3, and Marcos Baghdatis dominated John Millman 6-2 6-4.
In men’s doubles, Mergea/Tecau defeated Kudla/Tiafoe, Marach/Martin beat Stepanek/Zimonjic, Kontinen/Peers defeated Huey/Mirnyi, Guccione/Querrey beat Butorac/Lipsky, Nestor/Roger-Vasselin beat Fritz/Opelka, Lindstedt/Troicki beat Cabal/Farah, and Johnson/Sock beat Melo/Soares is an upset.
In women’s doubles, Aoyama/Ozaki, Dabrowski/Yang, Melichar/Xu, and Aoyama/Ozaki are all marching on.