American #1 John Isner Joins Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori and More at 2018 Citi Open
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The 2018 Citi Open has a loaded and diverse field this year. Here is your preview of all the action on hard courts at the ATP 500 level.
Last year’s champion Alexander Zverev will start his title defense against Evgeny Donskoy or Malek Jaziri. From there he should face his big brother Mischa in round 3, Mischa simply has to beat Tim Smyczek or Ricardas Berankis in round 2 to reach that stage. The younger Zverev is favored to reach the quarters.
Denis Shapovalov vs Daniil Medvedev looks like a fantastic round 2 matchup, Medvedev faces qualifier Yosuke Watanuki in his first match. I’ll give Shapovalov an edge until he runs into Kei Nishikori. Nishikori faces Donald Young or Stan Wawrinka, both of whom are struggling, in his first match. The section looks like Nishikori’s to lose.
David Goffin isn’t in great form but a path of Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Mitch Krueger and then most likely local hero Frances Tiafoe isn’t the most difficult. Tiafoe faces Hubert Hurkacz/Ilya Ivashka for a spot in the third round where he has a punchers chance against Goffin.
The fourth section of the draw is a bit weak. Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios are the seeds, neither are in great form and Kyrgios may not be fit. Jordan Thompson comes off a challenger final and I have him defeating Jared Donaldson while James Duckworth should defeat Thai-Son Kwiatkowski. I’ll go with Tsitsipas over Kyrgios in the third round, but this is a tough section to predict. Kyrgios should be favored if he’s healthy.
John Isner won Atlanta (again) and looks set to make a run in DC if he’s fit. Noah Rubin or Mikhail Youzhny are unlikely to stop him while Andrey Rublev/Tommy Paul/Alex Bolt will also be underdogs in the third round. I have Isner into the quarters.
Karen Khachanov vs Lucas Pouille looks like a good third round matchup. Khachanov should defeat Lukas Lacko/Denis Kudla, while Pouille should defeat Yuichi Sugita or Vincent Millot. I’ll take Khachanov to advance from the section.
Despite Andy Murray being in his section, I’ll back Kyle Edmund to make a run. Edmund beat Murray on grass a few weeks back and Murray should still be rusty, even if he defeats Mackenzie McDonald in the first round. I have Edmund defeating Jeremy Chardy in round 3 with Chardy taking on Mirza Basic or Marius Copil in round 2.
Newport champ Steve Johnson looks like a dark horse. Johnson will open with Vasek Pospisil/Alex De Minaur. Hyeon Chung played well enough in Atlanta to suggest he’ll beat Benoit Paire/Marcos Baghdatis, with Johnson or Chung advancing to the quarters. I’ll take Johnson to win the section.
Nishikori d. Zverev
Goffin d. Tsitsipas
Johnson d. Edmund
Isner d. Khachanov
I’ll back Johnson and Isner’s form into the semis, while Nishikori should edge the defending champion and Goffin will win a weak section.
Nishikori d. Goffin
Isner d. Johnson
I’ll back Nishikori to triumph in this one though Isner could also win.
Nishikori d. Isner