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.