The Kids Are Alright: @Coco Gauff Advances to @CitiOpen Main Draw on Kid’s Day
Steve Fogleman in Washington
It was unbelievably fitting that the first Sunday of the Citi Open would be Kid’s Day, because 15-year-old Coco Gauff delivered for the under 21 crowd in a big way.
Earlier, D.C.-area students gathered to hit with the likes of Genie Bouchard, Nick Kyrgios, Sonia Kenin, local legend Frances Tiafoe and yes, Coco Gauff. I understand that Kyrgios was on his best behavior today and I had been a little worried. I remembered the last time I saw him around kids at last year’s US Open, when a young fan asked for an autograph. He sheepishly said, “I’ll give you an autograph for 20 quid.” The kid predictably replied, “What’s a quid?”
19-year-old Destanee Aiava came close to booking her way into the main draw alongside Gauff but came up short to Sachia Vickery in three sets. After failing to qualify in Atlanta, Donald Young’s month has a nice finish to it as he made another Citi Open main draw. Young, a 2014 Citi Open semifinalist, also needed to mount a comeback to get the job done after dropping the first set 6-2 to Gojowczyk.
Denmark’s Mikael Torpegaard had to survive a 3-setter in the heat yesterday while Ilya Ivashka (and three other players) received a bye and a day off. After taking the first set from Torpegaard, he started to fade, and as is so common in these situations, Torpegaard’s more extensive recent knowledge of the court was likely a key.
Former UVA NCAA All-American Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, jumped out to take the first set against Vik Troicki and after two hours, was able to upset the Serbian in three to advance to the main draw. Anna Kalinskaya won a tight first set before cruising to a straight sets victory over Fanny Stollar.
And finally, the main event. It shouldn’t surprise that you Cori Gauff qualified with a 6-1, 6-2 clinic over Hiroko Kuwata in an hour and four minutes today. She beat the world #338 yesterday and the #265 today. These are the kind of ranked matches that you could see going down at an ITF event like Charlottesville. Playing on Citi Open stadium court is almost the exact halfway point, size-wise, between Wimbledon and the Charlottesville ITF and it’s clear Gauff is comfortable playing anywhere. D.C. is lucky to keep her around for at least one more match, and the biggest parlor game going on right now is where will she land in the draw. I don’t know a single player who’d love to draw her.