Yosuke Watanuki Reaches 1st @ATPWorldTour Main Draw as Top Seeds Stumble @CitiOpen
Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic
Patience paid off for Japan’s Yosuke Watanuki on Sunday as he advanced to the main draw of the first ATP World Tour event in his career after a 6-4, 6-4 victory over top qualifying seed Jason Kubler at the Citi Open in Washington.
“I am so happy for the first time for the main draw in the ATP tour. I am so happy now,” he told me after the win. “This is a first time, because I played (in qualifiers) two times in Tokyo,” he added.
Despite having played yesterday, while his opponent had a bye, he believed it gave him the upper hand. “That was good for me,” he said. “It’s especially for the ball and the court. In the beginning, I could play much more relaxed.”
We got lots of twitter activity when we mentioned Watanuki yesterday and asked him about it. “For the fans, thank you so much for every time that you support me.”
The 20-year-old will face wild card Daniil Medvedev on Tuesday.
The four top seeds received a Bye in the qualifying tournament’s first round, meaning they only had to win a single match to qualify. That turned out to be a bridge too far.
It wasn’t just the number one seed going down today, but the 2 and 3 seeds as well. American Donald Young worked through 3 seed Jason Jung in just under two hours with Jung going down in retirement. Young’s prize for qualifying is a prize-fight against Stan Wawrinka Monday on Stadium Court.
The 2 seed wasn’t safe, either, with American Mitch Krueger making the main draw here in his second attempt. Krueger routined 2nd seed Ramkumar Ramanthan, a finalist in Newport, and was never broken in the match. After the match, Krueger also agreed that playing yesterday was a plus.
“I definitely think getting a match under my belt yesterday was really helpful, because you can practice all you want, but it’s hard to simulate match conditions in practice,” he said. “I was lucky because I played on the same court (Grandstand 1) as yesterday, so I was more comfortable and knew what to expect. It’s always great to qualify and earn your way in.”
Krueger’s first round match is against Pierre Hugues-Herbert.