WESTERN & SOUTHERN OPEN SEEDS ANNOUNCED
Serena, Venus, Sharapova, Djokovic, Murray and Wawrinka Among Players Without First Round Bye
CINCINNATI (August 6, 2018) — The Western & Southern Open has announced the seeds for its 2018 tournament, which will take place August 11-19 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio.
The seeds, which are based on today’s rankings from the respective tennis tours, are headlined by the No. 1 ranked players on both the ATP World Tour – Rafael Nadal – and the WTA – Simona Halep. Sixteen players from each 56-player field are seeded, with the top eight seeds receiving first round byes.
Based on their current ranking, a number of veteran players who have frequently enjoyed a bye will not have that benefit this year and will have to play a first round match. For the women’s players, the opening round takes place Monday and Tuesday, while the men’s first round is played over three days, from Sunday until Tuesday.
Those players who will not have a bye include, to name a few, two-time W&S Open champion Serena Williams, 2011 champion Maria Sharapova, 2013 winner Victoria Azarenka, 2016 champion Karolina Pliskova and seven-time Major champion Venus Williams from the WTA.
Five-time W&S Open finalist and reigning Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic, two-time Cincinnati winner Andy Murray, three-time Major champion Stan Wawrinka, 2017 W&S Open finalist Nick Kyrgios and the top-ranked American, John Isner, are among the ATP stars who will be in action early in the week.
Below are the 16 seeds for each draw (italics indicates a player with a first-round bye):
Seed/Rank Player (Country)
1/1 Simona Halep (Romania)
2/2 Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark)
3/3 Sloane Stephens (USA)
4/4 Angelique Kerber (Germany)
5/5 Elina Svitolina (Ukraine)
6/6 Caroline Garcia (France)
7/7 Garbiñe Muguruza (Spain)
8/8 Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic)
9/9 Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic)
10/10 Julia Goerges (Germany)
11/11 Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia)
12/12 Daria Kasatkina (Russia)
13/13 Madison Keys (USA)
14/14 Venus Williams (USA)
15/15 Elise Mertens (Belgium)
16/16 Ashleigh Barty (Australia)
ATP World Tour
Seed/Rank Player (Country)
1/1 Rafael Nadal (Spain)
2/2 Roger Federer (Switzerland)
3/3 Alexander Zverev (Germany)
4/4 Juan Martin del Potro (Argentina)
5/5 Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria)
6/6 Kevin Anderson (South Africa)
7/7 Marin Cilic (Croatia)
8/8 Dominic Thiem (Austria)
9/9 John Isner (USA)
10/10 Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
11/11 David Goffin (Belgium)
12/12 Diego Schwartzman (Argentina)
13/13 Pablo Carreño Busta (Spain)
14/14 Fabio Fognini (Italy)
15/15 Roberto Bautista Agut (Spain)
16/16 Kyle Edmund (Great Britain)
These seeds are subject to change should there be any changes in the entry list this week.
Twelve women and seven men will complete the fields through the two-round qualifying tournament which will take place Aug. 11-12.
Tickets for all sessions, including the early round matches on Monday and Tuesday are on sale now. The available inventory also includes brand new premium seating areas in the just-built South Building. More information on tickets can be found at shop.cincytennis.com.
Super Sascha Punches His Ticket to Another @CitiOpen Final
Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic
The sun broke and held that break through the day session at the Citi Open. With no further rain in the forecast, it was on to unfinished business, starting with Svetlana Kuznetsova, who resumed her quarterfinal already up a set to Yulia Putintseva at 6-2, 2-2. Kuznetsova ran off 4 games and ran off to cool down to warm up for Andrea Petkovic later in the afternoon.
Denis Kudla’s quarterfinal with Andrey Rublev wasn’t really unfinished business since they resumed at 0-0 this afternoon. The hometown favorite, Denis Kudla, struggled badly in the first set but was only broken once in the second. It was all that was needed for Rublev, who won 6-1, 6-4.
Rublev faces Alex de Minaur tonight at 7 for the right to deny Sascha Zverev back to back Citi Open titles.
Donna Vekic was up 3-0 when the rain came last night, and she was ready to go out of the gate, and only lost her grip momentarily before hitting the finish line. After failing to capitalize on two match points chances earlier in the second set, she won the tiebreaker in a speed round to seize the match, 6-1, 7-6(0).
Saisai Zheng was the last player at Citi Open to reach the semis, and she did it just moments before Sascha Zverev and Stefano Tsitsipas took the court on Stadium next door. Her match also never started yesterday and she was playing on fire, as she has done throughout the Citi Open. Allie Kiick gave a last gasp near the end of the second set, but the final was 6-3, 6-1. Zheng plays the nightcap semifinal at 9 against Vekic.
The day’s most anticipated match was easily Zverev and Tsitsipas
Sascha Zverev looked every bit the part of the champion in dressing down opponent Stefano Tsitsipas in the first semifinal. Tsitsipas mounted a rally in the second set but left himself no margin for error. After he was broken in the ninth game while serving at 4-all, the young Greek smacked himself repeatedly in the face. With a win tomorrow, Zverev looks to join the ranks of Chang, Agassi, Del Potro and Rybarikova as back to back champions of this event. After being asked about the rankings, Zverev replied, “I want to win the U.S. Open and then see how many points I have after that.”
Tsitsipas was in decent spirits after the match. He said that playing Sascha was a learning experience. “I will learn from this,”: he said. “Hopefully, I can do better next time against him. He’s a really tough player to beat so if I manage to do better next time, I will see my progression and how much the level has increased.”
Semifinalists @AndreaPetkovic, @StefTsitsipas, @AlexdeMinaur Sneak In Before the Rain @CitiOpen
Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlsntic
A rare dry couple of hours at the Citi Open in Washington produced the tournament’s first three semifinalists on Friday afternoon, and only two got there by winning a match. Two and a half soggy hours later, we’re still waiting for another winner.
Stefano Tsitipas showed that he is gunning for some hardware by taking down the #3 seed, David Goffin, 6-3, 6-4. Tsitsipas bent but did not break. That is, he faced multiple unsuccessful break chances from Goffin and gave away nothing.
Sascha Zverev came out slow against Kei Nishikori after a big win over his brother, Mischa, on Stadium Court last night. After blowing the first set 6-3, Zverev found ample break chances on Nishikori in the second set to grab the momentum and a 6-1 second set. The third set was delayed by rain for over 2:30 at the time of this post.
Belinda Bencic was the highest remaining seed on the women’s side and she staged a furious comeback against 2013 Finalist Andrea Petkovic after dropping the first set, but Petkovic held on for a 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(8) after failing to convert break chances to win the match outright.
Petkovic discussed the tiebreak during the rain delay with the Tennis Channel.
“I think I had 8 out of 10 winners on the slice wide and slice T serve, and I just couldn’t make it in the tiebreak, but I did get my second serves into her body more,” she said.
She also commented on the composure needed to get through tiebreaks. “I think what is difficult in such situations is about still staying aggressive and still staying courageous. Then if you lose the tiebreak you will feel a little better, a little less bad about yourself if you stayed courageous. But then again, you don’t want to miss, right?”
“It’s an art to find the balance between these two.”
We also learned during the rain delay that Alex de Minaur became the second men’s semifinalist when Andy Murray made it official: he’s done at least until the U.S. Open. That limp was for real. The Muzzer’s departure from D.C. denies us a compelling matchup between de Minaur and maybe even Sascha Zverev. But we all know Andy knows himself better than anyone, and Cincinnati is a short wait for his fans.
Donald Young Does In Wawrinka @CitiOpen; Kudla Breaks the D.C. Duck
Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic
Dark clouds and rain threatened to slow down Tuesday’s packed schedule after a 4 ½ hour rain delay on Monday at the Citi Open in Washington. On the women’s side, after a brief delay in the early afternoon matches, fans saw some speedy matches. Donna Vekic was the first winner of the day against Carolyn Dolehide, 6-3, 6-4. Naomi Osaka blew past Bernarda Pera 6-2, 7-6(4) and Nao Hibino dismissed Sofya Zhuk 7-5, 6-4.
Ana Bogdan scored the upset of this young edition of the Citi Open with a 7-6(2), 6-3 shocker of Kate Makarova, last year’s Washington champion.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands started strong before fading against 2015 Washington champion Sloane Stephens, 7-5, 6-2, while both got a standing ovation from the Stadium court crowd. Belinda Bencic dismissed Harriet Dart, 7-5, 6-2. Plucky Yulia Putintseva was the slow winner today, coming back from the dead for a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 victory over Tatjana Maria.
The clouds finally broke up as the men took the courts. Yosuke Watanuki came close to winning his first round match and first ever ATP World Tour-level match against Wild Card Daniil Medvedev, but wilted as he gave his opponent 10 break point opportunities in the second set. Jared Donaldson made quick work of Jordan Thompson despite Thompson getting the early break by a score of 6-4, 7-6(4). James Duckworth ended Thai-Son Kwiatkowski’s singles campaign in Washington, 6-3, 7-5, despite a raucous University of Virginia-hued crowd firmly behind their former Cavalier.
Marcos Baghdatis is still alive and kicking (I know!) with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 win over Benoit Paire and Alex de Minaur took out Vasek Pospisil, 6-7(6), 6-2, 6-3.
The monkey is off his back. Denis Kudla broke his Citi Open duck tonight after competing in the event for over six years. This year, he stayed in his hometown of Arlington, Virginia, determined to play it like any other weekend. It worked, and Kudla is on to the second round after coming back to top Lukas Lacko, 6-7(3), 6-1, 6-4.
In the prime time match, Donald Young was lucky to have walked off a winner over Stan Wawrinka tonight, and DY was a 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-6(3) escapee. Wawrinka, like Andy Murray the night before, didn’t look up to form. The difference is that Murray’s opponent faded, while Young kept pouring on the pressure even in the third set breaker. That means “dangerous floater” Stan Wawrinka, as Frances Tiafoe called him yesterday, is gone—and D. Young gets K. Nishikori tomorrow night.
The heavens finally roared at the start of the match between Sascha Zverev and Malek Jaziri around 10:00 p.m delaying that match. Tomorrow marks an early start for this tournament on a Wednesday: Noon.
Ana Bogdan Beats Defending Champion Makarova at Citi Open; Exclusive Interview
Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic
We first interviewed Romania’s Ana Bogdan when she qualified for her first grand slam main draw in New York in 2016.
Times have changed and just off of her career high, she won’t need to qualify for the US Open this year.
And she took out the defending tournament champion tonight, the left-handed, top 30 Kate Makarova, 7-6(2), 6-3.
After the match, Bogdan told me, “When you play against players like her and top players, you have to give your best and maybe even more.” Makarova clawed back after going down early to Bogdan. “At 3-1, she started to put more pressure on me,” she said. “She started to hit the ball more deep and she took three games in a row with that kind of game, and then I realized what was happening, and I said ‘OK, let’s change something’ and maybe I should start putting pressure on her.”
Later, she spoke with me about her goal to return to the Top 50, her support from Romanian tennis fans (“I really love them. Seriously.”) and her tattoo (in Latin). See, I’ve given you a reason to watch the video.
Bogdan faces Sveta Kuznetsova tomorrow in Washington.
Tough Day for Local Players at Citi Open Qualifying; Saturday’s Results, Sunday’s OOP
Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic
The Washington weather was out of character for opening day at Citi Open this morning. Not too hot nor too muggy. The mercury rarely fails to top 90 degrees at a day session at Rock Creek Park. We weren’t complaining about the weather today, so we found something else to gripe about—the local talent getting sent home on Day One.
Baltimore’s Sophie Chang had problems with her serve and handed a win to top qualifying seed Ysaline Bonaventure on Court 2. With 15 double faults, Chang still kept the match amazingly close, losing to Bonaventure, 6-4, 7-5. Some of her first serves were way off, going all the way to the baseline. Chang’s serve deserted her today despite the total crowd support of 50-75 fans at the match. Tomorrow, Bonaventure faces Allie Kiick for a spot in the main draw.
Fairfax, Virginia’s Natasha Subhash, introduced in a great piece in City Paper, failed to live up to all the hype today. I’m certain she has better days ahead after she got served a bagel and a breadstick by Mayo Hibi in sixty minutes. I was surprised the match lasted that long. Tomorrow, Hibi squares off against Sofya Zhuk.
Lagardere’s new sign, 18-year old Danny Thomas, got a tough draw with Donald Young in qualifying but still looked good, taking the second set from the 29-year-old veteran before falling in three sets. Young will try to enter the main draw tomorrow with a win over Jason Jung.
Richmond’s Hunter Koontz is a former Virginia Tech athlete and current tennis pro at a country club. Today was no country club for him as he was ousted by the grizzly 32-year-old Frenchman Vincent Millot, who I last saw play when he qualified for last year’s U.S. Open. Koontz managed to take the second set and had major crowd support. Millot has a tough order tomorrow, facing Christopher Eubanks, who looked stellar on Saturday.
Former UVA star Thai-Son Kwiatkowski was the only winner with local connections today, and he persevered in three sets against Ilya Marchenko. Kwiatkowski draws Antoine Escoffier on Sunday.
I’d call Louisa Chirico almost local, and she looked so dazzling against Lauren Davis today in a straight sets win, I’d give her an honorary membership to the DMV region. For all the time Davis spent with Serena Williams, I thought she must have taught her how to play possum with an opponent. After giving up the first set 6-1 to Chirico, the Ohio native fought back and was up a break in the second set. Then the nerves turned on Davis after she was broken back and she and never got over it. She smashed her racquet with a lot of power, so it looks like Williams taught her something after all.
It’s a tiny qualifying field, made even stranger for the men by serving up four byes. That means tomorrow, Alex Bolt, Jason Jung, Jason Kubler and Ramkumar Ramanthan can qualify with a single Sunday win.