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.