Finalists Reaching for Greatness at Sunday Citi Open Finale
Steve Fogleman in Washington
Three finals are on tap at Citi Open in Washington today after somewhat surprising Saturday action brought us to this conclusion. Wild card Nick Kyrgios advanced to today’s final with a 7-6(4), 6-3 takedown of Mikael Ymer of Sweden.
He’s had a good run in Washington but didn’t want to get ahead of himself contemplating a title or two as he and partner Jack Sock advanced to the doubles final.
“Regardless of how tomorrow goes in both finals, I think it’s a hell of an achievement,” he said. “In one week I think to make both finals is pretty special. You know, I’m super excited. It’s been a minute since I have played in a final, Wimbledon final, so, you know, I’m gonna just try and turn it around and get a win tomorrow. I’m just super proud of the work I have put in.”
The Curious Case of Yoshihito Nishioka continues in Washington with consistent deft play. On Saturday night, he came out fast while Rublev was rusty in the first set. The second set saw Rublev give up four breaks of serve to Nishioka and #96 moved on over world #8 Rublev, 6-3, 6-4.
Kaia Kanepi raced out to a 3-0 lead within eight minutes of “Ready, Play!” and she dominated Daria Saville in the first women’s semifinal yesterday, 6-3, 6-1 in 1:13. Saville needed a medical timeout late in the first set and never had a chance to establish any rhythm in the match as Kanepi overpowered her and dominated the pace,
I would expect Kanepi to attempt a similar start today against Liudmila Samsonova. Both of the women’s semifinals were disappointingly uncompetitive yesterday. Samsonova’s semifinal victory was a 6-1, 6-1 exhibition against an out-of-sorts lucky loser Xiyu Wang in 1:07. Wang was the only women’s semifinalist who had not yet played a match on Stadium court and it showed. Still, it was a very good week for Wang, and for Daria Saville as well.
Here’s to today’s Citi Open champions and I’ll see you in Cincinnati.
Survival of the Fittest at Citi Open as Semifinals Set
Steve Fogleman in Washington
It’s been a tortuous few days for players and fans as scorching heat and torrential downpours hit the venue in Rock Creek Park, but the survivors have emerged from the wreckage and they are ready to collect their hardware. On Friday, some of these athletes played twice to book their ticket to the weekend action. Victoria Azarenka opened the day with straight sets win over Tereza Martincova, 7-6(7), 6-2 but that win came at a high price: 2 hours and 10 minutes on court. Hours later, she struggled throughout against the rested lucky loser Xiyu Wang as Azarenka fell 6-1, 6-3.
Nick Kyrgios started the day up a set over Reilly Opelka and got out of the match after a solo set on court Friday afternoon, 7-6(1), By contrast, Frances Tiafoe walked on court yesterday down a set before pulling off the comeback win against Botic Va de Zandschulp, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. That extra effort for the win may have been the difference as Kyrgios prevailed in the evening quarterfinal match in three sets, 6-7(5), 7-6(12), 6-2.
Andrey Rublev played his cards right on Friday by spending only 1:42 on court in a straight sets win over Maxime Cressy, 6-4, 7-6(8) and was more than ready for wild card J.J. Wolf, who needed 2:36 to beat Holger Rune, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 earlier in the the day. The result? Rublev cruised to the semifinals with a convincing 6-2, 6-3 drubbing of the Buckeye.
Kaia Kanepi and Daria Saville only had to play one match yesterday and it showed. Saville made mincemeat out of qualifier Rebecca Marino’s game, 6-1, 7-5. The second set was closer as the rain delay required Saville to re-adjust her game. Kanepi’s opponent, Anna Kalinskaya, seemed to wither in the hot conditions and it felt like Kanepi grew stronger with each passing game as the Estonian advanced to the quarterfinals, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3. Saville and Kanepi face off this afternoon and the winner will be the odds-on favorite to lift the trophy tomorrow.
Stormy Thursday Stops Citi Open Play; Double Dip of Pro Tennis Today, Weather Permitting
Steve Fogleman in Washington
Mother Nature took the win at Rock Creek Park in Washington on Thursday, with some afternoon matches and all evening contests postponed as raging winds, hail and rain buffeted the hard courts of the Citi Open. Earlier in the day in the oppressive heat, even the wins were sloppy.
Mikael Ymer was clearly exhausted after advancing to the quarterfinals in his victory over Emil Ruusuvuori, 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-4 in 2:18. After the match, Ymer rested in his player chair on court for several minutes with an ice pack and bugged-out eyes. Security hauled him to the locker room as quickly as they could. The slopfest found both men being broken on serve 14 times. Don’t talk to me about the WTA.
“On court I felt okay today, but conditions are very tough,” Ymer said. “I think we are playing one of the toughest sports on this planet, because besides dealing with the heat, you also have to constantly like make so many decisions.”
Emma Raducanu advanced to the quarterfinals is less-than-convincing fashion, struggling mightily against Camilia Osorio, 7-6(5), 7-6(4) in 2:50, with the #2 seed racking up 9 double faults in the process. But she was fighting against not just Osorio, but the looming storm.
“Yeah, I think first we were pretty lucky to get it done before it started chucking it down,” she said. “You always have that in your mind on the court, as well. You’re thinking of the rain, that’s going to come, because you see the clouds and it’s important not to let that affect you. You might want to rush things a bit.”
On a positive note, Liudmila Samsonova racked up 13 aces in a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 comeback win from favorite Alja Tomljanovic on Stadium Court. Xiyu Wang is sitting pretty after securing a 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 victory over Donna Vekic shortly before the thunder rolled in. She’ll sit back and wait for Tereza Martincova and Vika Azarenka to wear themselves before taking on the winner in the quarterfinals set for this evening.
And yes, your Yoshihito Nishioka photo of the day is posted below. He keeps on rolling through his DC opponents, this time a nail-biting 7-6(2), 7-6(1) triumph over 7 seed Karen Khachanov. Yesterday’s winners are the luckiest of the draw, since they’ll need to play only one match today. And that’s a tall order since the weather forecast predicts rain to begin mid-afternoon at the venue.
Doing double duty today are the winners of Kyrgios and Opelka, Tiafoe and Van de Zandschulp, Dimitrov and Korda, Rublev and Kressy, Rune and Wolf and Martincova and Azarenka.
This could be a very long night of tennis, or we could see another double header tomorrow to try to fit the schedule in for finals on Sunday. There are also storms forecast for Saturday, so buckle up.
Wild Wednesday in Washington Whittles the Citi Open Field
Steve Fogleman in Washington
If you like upsets, you’d have loved Wednesday in Washington. The Citi Open has been full of surprises and the midweek edition of the tournament found many players on the outside looking in at what could have been.
First up was Emil Ruusuvuori, the scourge of English spell-checkers everywhere. #46 in the world as the tournament began, he shocked #2 seed Hubert Hurkacz 6-4, 7-6(3).
“The first set, I wasn’t returning that well, but at the end of the first set, I was making first serves and that helped me,” he said after the win. The win set him up with a match against Mikael Ymer for a spot in the quarterfinals.
Ymer crashed the party of 15 seed Aslan Karatsev with a turnaround three set victory, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win on Grandstand court and earned a date with the cutest little kid dressed as Andre Agassi for Halloween. I mean Emil Ruusuvuori.
Yoshihoto Nishikori looked out of gas after his two set victory in the first round but the plucky Japanese player stuck around long enough to empty the tank of 11 seed Alex De Minaur 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-2. He’ll face 7 seed Karen Khachanov at noon and I wouldn’t look past Yoshi if I were De Minaur.
Simona Halep was forced to retire with heat related illness, and Daria Saville upset #1 seed Jessica Pegula, 7-5, 6-4. “You know, I felt like it was really, really important to win the first set,” Saville said. “I thought that, like, for me it would have been really hard to be composed in the second set if I lost the first set. I would have been like, Oh, my God, this is a struggle here.”
Her struggle and Halep’s departure opens a massive hole in the top half of the women’s draw. One of Either Saville, Anna Kalinskaya, Kaia Kanepi or qualifier Rebecca Marino will find themselves in the final this Sunday.
As we head to Quarterfinals Friday, there are four scheduled women’s singles matches to determine the four remaining quarters berths today, and eight matches to whittle the men’s field down to size.
Heat Withers Opponents at Citi Open on MondayAs First Round Concludes
Steve Fogleman in Washington
You know what would be nice? If our Summer Series here in the States were in May or June like they are in Europe. I know they had record heat this summer over there, but it’s always roasting on this side of the Atlantic during the Citi Open, Canada, Cincinnati and the heat dome that is Flushing Meadows. That said, the heat seemed to play a factor at Rock Creek Park in Washington yesterday and it’ll be here all week.
Tereza Martincova was bageled in the first set of her first round win against qualifier Xinyu Wang. She took a bathroom break, returned 10 minutes later and recovered to win, 0-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Yoshihito Nishioka, always one to stop and greet the fans after a win, ran off of John Harris grandstand yesterday and headed straight for the showers like he’d suffered a loss. In fact, the highly perspiring Nishioka won, 6-4, 6-3, over a very dejected Jenson Brooksby and will face Alex DeMinaur in similar conditions this afternoon.
Emil Ruusuvuori suffered through the first set against Mackenzie McDonald before shocking the American in three sets, 1-6, 6-4, 6-4, in a match where it appeared the Mackster had it locked up in the later sets. Ruusuvuori gets Hubert Hurkacz this afternoon for a spot in the Round of 16.
Last night saw some promising players come up just short in their quest for the title in Washington. Dominik Koepfer took a first set tiebreak and kept it close before Karen Khachanov closed it out, 6-7(3), 7-5, 6-4. Qualifier Borna Gojo gave Botic Van de Zandschulp a rough ride in the first set and throughout the match as the Dutchman eked out a 6-7(6), 7-6(5), 6-4 finish.
Chris Eubanks bounced back from first set disappointment to topple France’s Benjamin Bonzi, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 and Jack Sock thrilled the crowd on grandstand with a straight sets win over David Goffin, 7-6(4)-6-4.
First Round Action Kicks Off 2022 Citi Open Main Draw Play
Steve Fogleman in Washington
Andy Murray graced this city with his presence but bowed out in the first round of the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. on Monday night, falling to Sweden’s Michael Ymer in three sets.
“Yeah, it was disappointing obviously,” he said after the loss. “I thought there was some good tennis in the first set. After that both of us were struggling a bit physically. The level of the tennis was not great but, yeah, obviously had chances in the first set to close that out. I had set point in 6-5, then two in the tiebreaker, two or three in the tiebreaker, and didn’t get it. Frustrating.”
Murray opined that the only positive of the early loss was more time to practice before heading to Canada later in the week.
Earlier in the day, former world #1 Simona Halep faced little resistance from Spain’s Cristina Busca in the first set but went into a bit of a tailspin in the second before securing the victory.
“Yeah, my energy dropped (in the second set)” she said. “I’m not used. I didn’t play the last months in this heat. It’s always tricky to start the tournament. Now I know. I got used to the conditions better.”
She concluded, “First round is difficult. But it’s good that I finish in two sets.”
She should know. The last time she played here was in 2017, when she wilted in the heat on her way to retirement.
Top-ranked American Jessica Pegula was fully prepared for 2019 Citi Open upset specialist and local player Hailey Baptiste. Baptiste beat Madison Keys in the first round of the 2019 event here and Pegula was not looking past her.
I am a sucker for cliches like “epic comeback”, but Daria Saville’s match against qualifier Mirjam Bjorklund was one for the tournament. After losing the first set 6-3, she clawed back to win the next two sets and the match, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(4) after 3 hours and 9 minutes. The 10th game of the third set went on for 15 minutes and Bjorklund’s level of play never dropped. Saville, nee Gavrilova, will need the two day rest to face top American Pegula in the round of 16.
Kyle Edmund is back, mate! The 2020 New York Open champion (right as the coronavirus was attacking New York City for the first time) won his first match in almost 20 months today after injuries sidelined him from the tour. Edmund indicated that he was not at his best, but it’s good to see him back on court and I’m interested in how he’ll fare against countryman Daniel Evans tomorrow night.
British and Americans Headline a Magical Monday at Citi Open
Steve Fogleman in Washington
Main draw action is about to get underway at the Citi Open in Washington today. British compatriots Kyle Edmund, Jack Draper, Harriet Dart and Andy Murray look to successfully start the British campaign on the Nation’s Capital in singles, while Emma Raducanu will start with a doubles match.
It’s the U.S. Open Series, so you come to expect a lot of Americans in these events and you won’t be disappointed today. American #1 Jessica Pegula plays local talent Hailey Baptiste today. Baptiste shocked the tournament when she beat Madison Keys in the first round here in 2019 and we’ll see what surprises she has in store for us today.
More local talent is featured with Denis Kudla of nearby Arlington, Virginia as he squares off against Michael Mmoh, who was also born and raised in the neighboring Maryland suburbs.
And Venus Wiliams will be your American nightcap as she steps on Stadium court after 7:00 p.m. to face Canadian Rebecca Marino.
If al of that wasn’t enough for you, then how about a matinee match for former world #1 Simona Halep in action against Cristina Bucsa?
It’s summer tennis in the Mid-Atlantic and the matchups are about as good as it gets. I call Citi Open a “375”, because it’s an ATP 500 and a WTA 250. This opening day of this “375” feels like a Master’s event to me–or at least a Master’s opening day from 2018.
Sold Out Citi Open Saturday Play Sizzles; Tournament Steps Up to Match @Andy_Murray Ukraine Relief Funds
Steve Fogleman in Washington
WASHINGTON–The opening day of the 2022 Citi Open was one of the most action-packed days I’ve witnessed in over 20 years of attendance at the pro tennis tournament at Rock Creek Park in Washington. In years past, qualifying weekend was a somewhat low key affair, with free tickets and food and bouncy houses to attract families to the event. Last year, the King of Clay featured a qualifying weekend sellout and a packed stadium for Rafael Nadal’s practice sessions. So I was a little surprised to see a full house today to cheer on American players trying to make it into the main draw and watch practice sessions for Venus Williams, Simona Halep and others.
I almost missed the first match of the day as Tulane alum Dominik Koepfer needed only 42 minutes to dispatch Ryan Colby, 6-0, 6-0. Tomorrow, Koepfer will look for a main draw berth with a win against 19-year-old Shintaro Mochizuki, who advanced 6-1, 6-2 against American Alex Lawson.
Michael Mmoh, who has roots in the Washington area, routined his compatriot Raymond Sarmiento, 6-4, 6-2, and will square off against fellow American J.C. Aragone, who needed three sets to knock off Bruno Kuzuhara, 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-4.
The women’s top qualifying seed Xiyu Wang topped Jamie Loeb, 6-4, 6-1, and the seeded women’s qualifiers did quite well today, with Heather Watson (3), Catherine McNally (7) and Sachia Vickery (8) all advancing to a final tomorrow. A notable exception was the 6 seed, Yue Yuan, who lost in three sets to Louisa Chirico on Stadium Court.
And finally, Citi Open tournament owner Mark Ein had a special announcement of the top of Andy Murray’s pre-tournament press conference at noon today. Murray, who has earmarked his summer tour earnings for Ukraine relief funding, will have his donations matched by the tournament. Murray had preciously announced that he would donate his tour earnings to the UNICEF Ukraine fund and now has double the reason to keep winning.
Citi Open announces full preliminary player fields for its combined ATP/WTA event in Washington, D.C., July 30 – August 7, featuring Andy Murray, Simona Halep, Emma Raducanu, Taylor Fritz and more top talent
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Citi Open®, Washington, D.C.’s combined ATP/WTA professional tennis tournament, has released its preliminary player fields for this year’s event. The stacked competition includes three former World No. 1 players, six Grand Slam champions, four former Citi Open titlists, three Olympic gold medalists and 10 top 20 players. The 2022 Citi Open will be held July 30 – August 7 in Rock Creek Park.
Highlights from the main draws include:
Three Former World No. 1s: Andy Murray, Simona Halep, Victoria Azarenka
Six Grand Slam Champions: Andy Murray, Emma Raducanu, Simona Halep, Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens, Sofia Kenin (WC)
Three Olympic Gold Medalists: Andy Murray (London & Rio de Janeiro, Singles), Andrey Rublev (Tokyo, Mixed Doubles), Victoria Azarenka (London, Mixed Doubles)
Four Former Citi Open Champions: Nick Kyrgios, Kei Nishikori (WC), Jessica Pegula, Sloane Stephens
Ten Top 20 Players: Andrey Rublev, Hubert Hurkacz, Taylor Fritz, Denis Shapovalov, Reilly Opelka, Jessica Pegula, Emma Raducanu, Leylah Fernandez, Simona Halep, Victoria Azarenka
Eight of the Top Nine American Men: Taylor Fritz, Reilly Opelka, Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul, Jenson Brooksby, Maxime Cressy, Sebastian Korda, Mackenzie McDonald
Six 2022 Wimbledon Quarterfinalists: David Goffin, Taylor Fritz, Nick Kyrgios, Simona Halep (semifinalist), Marie Bouzkova, Ajla Tomljanovic
“We are thrilled to share the terrific field of top men’s and women’s players we have lined up for the 2022 Citi Open. The draws will be filled by Grand Slam champions, former World No. 1s, past Citi Open winners, top 20 players and a few new and exciting faces making their tournament debuts,” said Mark Ein, Citi Open Chairman. “In less than a month, our fans will get the opportunity to watch these incredible, world-class athletes, who they follow around the globe, compete right here in the nation’s capital. It’s going to be another memorable week of tennis in Washington.”
The Citi Open is one of only five combined tennis tournaments in the country, featuring professional competition from both men and women. Citi Open’s ATP 500 event will showcase 48 singles players and 16 doubles teams. The revived WTA 250 tournament will feature 32 singles competitors and 16 doubles teams. Additional players will join the main draws via wild card entry, to be announced in the coming weeks.
Among the new players announced today are:
Andy Murray, Three-time Grand Slam Champion & Former World No. 1: Andy Murray holds 46 career titles, including the 2012 US Open title and 2013 and 2016 Wimbledon titles. He was the first player to win two Olympic gold medals and was the first British World No. 1 player. This season he reached the finals in Stuttgart and Sydney. Murray will compete in the Citi Open for the fourth time in 2022, where he was a finalist in 2006 and a quarterfinalist in 2018.
Hubert Hurkacz, World No. 10: Hubert Hurkacz recently captured his fifth ATP title in Halle. This season he reached the semifinals in Miami and Dubai and the quarterfinals in Madrid and Monte Carlo. In 2021, the 25-year-old won the title in Metz, Miami and Delray Beach and was also a semifinalist at Wimbledon.
Denis Shapovalov, World No. 16: Canadian Denis Shapovalov is currently ranked World No. 16. The 23-year-old has reached three quarterfinals this season, at the Australian Open and in Doha and Rome, and the semifinals in Dubai. He is a 2021 Wimbledon semifinalist and 2020 US Open quarterfinalist.
Karen Khachanov, World No. 22: KarenKhachanov is a four-time ATP champion and is currently ranked World No. 22. The 26-year-old reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 2021 and Roland-Garros in 2019. This season, he was a finalist in Adelaide (International 1) and a semifinalist in Doha and Belgrade.
Holger Rune, World No. 29: Holger Rune will make his Citi Open debut in 2022. The 19-year-old
captured his maiden ATP title this season in Munich. He also found success at Roland-Garros, where he became the first Danish man to reach the tournament’s quarterfinal. He is the 2019 Roland-Garros boys’ singles champion.
Jenson Brooksby, World No. 33: American Jenson Brooksby will compete in the Citi Open for the second time in 2022, where he was a semifinalist last year. In 2021, he reached the fourth round of the US Open as a 20-year-old wild card, becoming the first American in the US Open’s fourth round since Andy Roddick in 2002. Brooskby was a finalist in Dallas this season.
Sebastian Korda, World No. 46: Sebastian Korda, the 22-year-old American, will compete in the Citi Open for the second time in 2022. This year marks 30 years since his father, Petr Korda, captured the Citi Open title in 1992. His 2022 season included a quarterfinal appearance in Delray Beach and a semifinal berth in Estoril.
Mackenzie McDonald, World No. 55: Mackenzie McDonald reached his first ATP final at the 2021 Citi Open, where he defeated former champions and 2022 contenders Nick Kyrgios and Kei Nishikori on the way to the final. This year will be his fourth time competing in D.C. The 27-year-old American was a quarterfinalist this season in Dubai.
Ajla Tomljanovic, World No. 44: AustralianAjla Tomljanovic will make her debut appearance at the Citi Open this summer. This season, the 29-year-old reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon and in Istanbul, Morocco and Nottingham. She was also a Wimbledon quarterfinalist in 2021.
Other notable player additions in the field include Maxime Cressy, David Goffin, Tommy Paul, Elise Mertens and Marie Bouzkova. Several players in the 2022 field have also found success in Washington in years past. In addition to the four former singles champions, the field includes 2018 finalist Alex de Minaur, 2018 semifinalist Andrey Rublev, 2019 semifinalist Anna Kalinskaya, 2018 finalist Donna Vekic and 2013 finalist and 2017 and ‘18 semifinalist Andrea Petkovic.
THE WTA RETURNS TO WASHINGTON D.C. THIS SUMMER FOR COMBINED TOURNAMENT AT THE CITI OPEN
Citi Open becomes one of only five combined ATP/WTA Tour events in the country
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Citi Open®, Washington, D.C.’s premier tennis tournament since 1969 and the fifth largest tennis event in the United States, has announced it will again host a WTA tournament in conjunction with its current ATP event. The Citi Open tournament is one of only five combined tour events in the country, featuring competition from both the ATP and WTA. The 2022 tournament will be held July 30 through August 7 at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center.
Citi Open had a different feel last year without the WTA. You shouldn’t have to travel to Charleston, New York or Cincinnati to watch women in the highest levels of competition, so this is great news to thousands of fans from Baltimore to Richmond to Harrisburg.
Citi Open’s revived WTA 250 event will celebrate its 10th edition this summer with a stacked player field, featuring 32 singles competitors, 16 doubles teams and 16 qualifiers. The inaugural tournament was staged in 2011 at College Park, MD and moved venues to Washington in 2012. Past champions include Jessica Pegula, Sloane Stephens and the doubles team of Coco Gauff and Caty McNally.
“Our Washington, D.C. community has embraced professional women’s tennis since World TeamTennis first came here in 2008 and the Citi Open tournament hosted its first WTA event in 2011. Our city and event attendees are avid women’s tennis fans, and tennis, uniquely among pro sports, showcases both genders on its biggest stages. Presenting a combined tournament with men’s and women’s players has always been the goal for the Citi Open,” said Mark Ein, Citi Open Chairman. “For the past two years, we have worked tirelessly to bring the Hologic WTA Tour back to our event and we are thrilled to announce both its return to D.C. this summer, as well as another big pro tournament coming back to the United States.”
In April 2019, MDE Sports, owned and led by Washington-based venture capitalist, entrepreneur and civic leader Ein, acquired the management rights of the Citi Open tournament from the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation (WTEF), a non-profit which provides free tennis and educational programs for children in underserved communities. This acquisition secured the Citi Open’s future in the U.S. and specifically in Washington.
MDE Sports has pursued ensuring that a WTA tournament is part of the long-term future for the Citi Open, with the objective of supporting women’s tennis, guaranteeing the game thrives in the U.S. and providing an opportunity for Washington’s large base of tennis fans to enjoy women’s tennis with a combined event.
“I am delighted the Citi Open is returning to the WTA tennis calendar this summer,” said Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO. “The tournament and the Washington community have a rich history on the Hologic WTA Tour, with many of the game’s biggest names gracing the courts in previous editions in the nation’s capital. I am grateful to the tournament organizers for their support and for providing the world’s best women’s tennis players the opportunity to showcase their talent.”
The tournament team worked with Citi to ensure that women’s tennis remained a significant element of the event, as a commitment to educate, advocate and support women in sports.
Planning and player commitments are underway for the 2022 Citi Open. Last year’s tournament was the most successful in the event’s history, shattering previous attendance records and selling out all sessions throughout the week. Full tournament packages are on sale now and can be purchased via email at email@example.com or by calling (202) 721-9500. To learn more about the tournament, ticket options, player fields, event policies and more, visit citiopentennis.com.