Nishikori and Del Potro Make Winning Starts at the Citi Open
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
An afternoon rain delay sent play late into the night once again at the 2017 Citi Open, fan favorites Kei Nishikori and Juan Martin Del Potro made winning starts. Nishikori was pushed deep into the third set against Donald Young. The first set was up and down, with Young going down 1-4, and coming back a bit but dropping the first set in the end 6-3. Set 2 would go Young’s way 6-4 as he scored two breaks, and even though he missed a break point on his return game up 5-3, he served out the second set to force a third. The third set had no breaks, but Nishikori had break points in most of Young’s service games, and kept the pressure on, generating three match points. Nishikori would get three more match points in the third set tiebreak, and finally took the match 6-3 4-6 7-6.
Del Potro had an easier time of things against Lukas Lacko, winning 7-5 6-2 as Lacko went away after a close first set that featured five breaks of serve, the last one going the way of the Argentine. Del Potro really picked up his game in the second set.
Other winners on the men’s side included Dominic Thiem and Jack Sock, Thiem lost just a handful of points on his serve against Henri Laaksonen, winning 6-3 6-3, Sock defeated Marius Copil in two tiebreaks. Marcos Baghdatis put a beating on first time main draw participant Edan Leshem, Jordan Thompson dispatched Ruben Bemelmans 6-3 6-2, Kyle Edmund took advantage of Hyeon Chung’s struggles 6-3 6-1, Malek Jaziri beat Alessandro Bega 7-5 7-5.
Dmitry Tursunov won his first match of the season 6-4 6-7 6-4 over Mitchell Krueger, American Tennys Sandgren had better luck against Go Soeda winning 7-6 6-3, and Argentina’s Guido Pella upset Mischa Zverev 6-7 7-6 6-3. Zverev’s poor form on hard courts is starting to put his career best rankings as of late at risk.
A good number of WTA singles matches were cancelled because of rain, but Simona Halep, Ekaterina Makarova, Monica Puig, and Patricia Maria Tig all came away winners in straight sets. Three American women, Sloane Stephens, Jamie Loeb, and Luisa Chirico were their victims, along with Britain’s Heather Watson.
Four teams have reached the quarterfinals in men’s doubles. Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, Cerretani/Polmans, Rojer/Tecau, and Kubot/Melo are those teams, with four more spots to be determined.
In women’s doubles the quarterfinalists so far are Mirza/Niculescu the top seeds, Abduraimova/Tig, Lister/Lu, and Aoyama/Voracova the #2 seeds.