2017 ATP Washington Preview and Predictions
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The only 500 level tournament in the United States, the Citi Open, is back for edition #49. Here is your full preview with predictions, as Tennis Atlantic will have on-site coverage all week from the nation’s capital.
ATP World Tour 500*
July 31-August 6, 2017
Washington D.C., USA
Prize Money: $1,750,080
*denotes joint ATP/WTA tournament
Top 8 seeds (top 16 seeds receive first round byes) (ATP rankings in parentheses)
1: Dominic Thiem (7)
2: Kei Nishikori (9)
3: Milos Raonic (10)
4: Grigor Dimitrov (11)
5: Alexander Zverev (8)
6: Gael Monfils (22)
7: Lucas Pouille (17)
8: Jack Sock (19)
Washington has attracted three top 10 players on the men’s side, and a solid group of top 20 seeds.
Dominic Thiem is back in North America, and as the top seed he has a weight on his shoulders in Washington. The Austrian should slip past Vasek Pospisil or Henri Laaksonen and then defeat Kevin Anderson in round 3. Anderson played well at Wimbledon, and will need to defeat either Malek Jaziri or Alessandro Bega to reach the third round. Anderson’s serve makes him a threat, but Thiem has a better all-around game.
Mischa Zverev hasn’t been in great form this year but should be better than either Ramkumar Ramanathan or a struggling Guido Pella. Gael Monfils should show his range against Yuki Bhambri or Stefan Kozlov, before putting away the serve and volleyer Zverev with his superior movement in the third round.
Milos Raonic looks safe against either Nicolas Mahut or Thomas Fabbiano, given both players are struggling. Atlanta finalist Ryan Harrison should be up in round 3. Harrison needs only to defeat a struggling Marcos Baghdatis, or ATP main draw debutante Edan Leshem. Given Harrison should be fatigued, Raonic is the favorite to reach the quarterfinals.
John Isner and Jack Sock look to be on a collision course in round 3. Sock opens with Sekou Bangoura or Marius Copil and should win that. Isner has won eight matches in a row, and if he can overcome a possible knee issue, he should defeat Dudi Sela or Jared Donaldson. I’ll go with Sock over Isner given the fatigue factor, Sock really could use a win against Isner to boost his confidence this Summer heading into the US Open.
Despite somewhat disappointing results this year, Kei Nishikori remains one of the most talented players in men’s tennis, and should defeat either Donald Young or Tim Smyczek in round 2. Juan Martin Del Potro awaits in round 3, Del Potro is a solid player, but he’s still a shell of the player he once was, and Nishikori is the favorite to reach the quarterfinals. Del Potro faces Alexios Halebian or Lukas Lacko in round 2.
Look for the in-form Gilles Muller, a semifinalist in Atlanta, to make a run at the Citi Open. Muller begins against Mitchell Krueger or Dmitry Tursunov, who hasn’t won a match this year. Lucas Pouille will be up in round 3, Pouille will face Atlanta quarterfinalist Tommy Paul, or another young gun, Casper Ruud, who has been struggling a bit, and tends to prefer clay. Pouille is credible on hard courts, but Muller should win if the court is fast enough.
The two remaining sections of the draw are pretty stacked. Grigor Dimitrov is 17-4 on hard courts this year, Atlanta semifinalist Kyle Edmund is likely up in round 2, unless Hyeon Chung spoils things. Dimitrov should be better than Edmund. Talented young Russian Daniil Medvedev should beat big serving American Reilly Opelka, I have Steve Johnson reaching the third round with a win over Medvedev, before falling to Dimitrov.
Alexander Zverev should have an edge against Nick Kyrgios. Kyrgios hasn’t been healthy, but he should beat Go Soeda or Tennys Sandgren. Both Ruben Bemelmans and Jordan Thompson are in great form, but Zverev played well enough during the grass court season that he should safely reach round 3, and then defeat Kyrgios, who I doubt is 100%.
Dark Horse: Daniil Medvedev
If Medvedev can find form against Johnson and Dimitrov he could well make his breakout in North America. The Russian has had a fantastic season and he’s primed to be a much bigger name than he is right now on the ATP tour.
Thiem d. Monfils
Raonic d. Sock
Dimitrov d. Zverev
Nishikori d. Muller
Dimitrov vs. Zverev is the hardest matchup to pick, but I like Dimitrov’s form, the big seeds Raonic, Thiem, and Nishikori should be set to make the semis.
Raonic d. Thiem
Nishikori d. Dimitrov
On hard courts Raonic’s serve is a formidable weapon, Nishikori should be able to rise to the occasion against Dimitrov or Zverev, before falling to the big serving Raonic in the final. Milos could use a title heading into the US Open.
Raonic d. Nishikori