The 2018 Citi Open has had an eventful two days of early round matches. Despite significant rain delays on both days, a good number of matches were completed including a pair of epics featuring former top 4 players in the world on the ATP side. Here is your look at Monday and Tuesday’s action with a look ahead at the Wednesday schedule.
Murray Advances in an Epic
Andy Murray took the court at the Citi Open in his first hard court match since the Spring of 2017 and he didn’t have it easy against Mackenzie McDonald, an upstart American who was full of belief against the former Grand Slam champion who is now looking to complete a comeback from hip surgery.
In a 2 and a half hour epic Murray prevailed from a set down 3-6 6-4 7-5 despite serving up just 51% of first serves in. The match was full of breaks as Murray double faulted to give up his first break, then was broken twice more in the opening set to drop it 6-3 and give McDonald all the momentum.
Murray pushed back hard though, trading breaks in the first two games of the second set before securing a late break to force a decider. Murray battled to break McDonald in the first game of the third, then despite having five match points he was broken by McDonald serving 5-4. McDonald gave away the surge of momentum from keeping the match alive though, he was broken and then Murray served out his 7th match point to reach the second round in a win that should grow his confidence immensely.
Wawrinka Edged By Young
Stan Wawrinka in contrast to Murray continued to struggle in his comeback. Taking on another out of form player, Donald Young, he fell in a three set battle 6-4 6-7 7-6 in a match where both players dominated with their first serve, but were inconsistent on return and had their fair share of sloppy errors.
Young broke in the opening game and wasn’t faced with a break point in two sets of tennis. The first set went to Young via the lone break, while set 2 was a rather predictable affair until the tiebreak. At one point Young was ahead 5-3 in the tiebreak and on the cusp of taking the match, but from that point Wawrinka reeled off four straight points to take it 7-5.
Wawrinka had an opening to break at 3-3 but he failed to convert either break point and a tiebreak would soon follow. In that tiebreak Wawrinka was the one who lost four straight points, as Young took it 7-3 from 3-3. The win is certainly a confidence booster for Young.
Baghdatis Frustrates Paire
Benoit Paire crashed out on Tuesday in three sets as Marcos Baghdatis dialed back the years to win 6-3 3-6 6-2 in an hour and a half against the Frenchman. Other than breaking Baghdatis twice in the second set, Paire played a poor match and after going down 4-2 in the third set he imploded, cracking his racquet and getting booed off the court due to his sour attitude.
Wozniacki’s Withdrawal Opens Path for Boulter and Osaka
Due to a leg injury the WTA tournament’s top seed Caroline Wozniacki withdrew and was replaced by lucky loser Ysaline Bonaventure. That means #3 Naomi Osaka, and Kate Boulter, who upset Aleksandra Krunic 6-2 6-0, stand to gain immediate benefit. Osaka defeated Bernarda Pera in round 1 while Boulter faces Allie Kiick in round 2. Bonaventure drew Anhelina Kalinina with the winner to face Katie Swan or Saisai Zheng.
ATP Early Round Wrap-Up
In Monday’s action only a few matches were completed due to afternoon rain. Hubert Hurkacz eased past Ilya Ivashka 6-4 6-3, Tim Smyczek and Noah Rubin claimed wins for American tennis as Smyczek defeated Ricardas Berankis 7-6 6-2, while Rubin defeated Mikhail Youzhny 6-4 6-4.
Malek Jaziri and Marius Copil also won in straight sets, as Evgeny Donskoy and Mirza Basic were eliminated.
Tuesday saw two more Americans claim wins. DC favorite Denis Kudla edged Lukas Lacko 6-7 6-1 6-4, while Jared Donaldson defeated Jordan Thompson 6-4 7-6.
Daniil Medvedev saw off a spirited challenge by qualifier Yosuke Watanuki, a 20 year old in his first main draw. Watanuki showed promise falling 3-6 7-5 6-1 against the more experienced Russian.
Two Frenchmen and two Aussie’s also advanced as James Duckworth beat Kwiatkowski 6-3 7-5, and Alex De Minaur came back against Vasek Pospisil 6-7 6-1 6-4. Pierre-Hugues Herbert defeated Mitch Krueger 7-5 6-3, while Vincent Millot beat Yuichi Sugita 6-3 6-2.
WTA Early Round Wrap-Up
The WTA Monday winners were Boulter against Krunic, Kiick against Han, Sveta Kuznetsova against Ahn, Andrea Petkovic against Jamie Loeb, and Fannie Stollar against Hibi. None of those matches went the distance and only the Stollar vs. Hibi match was competitive.
On Tuesday Bogdan upset Makarova in straights, Donna Vekic and Naomi Osaka advanced in straights. Sloane Stephens saw off coutnrywoman Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Bencic defeated Dart in straights, Putinseva edged Maria in three sets, Bogdan upset Makarova in straights, and Hibino defeated Zhuk.
Nishikori and Isner Highlight Wednesday Action
Wednesday is catch up day at the Citi Open as the tournament hopes to complete ongoing matches between Alexander Zverev vs. Malek Jaziri and Tommy Paul vs. Alex Bolt (Zverev is up a set, while Paul is up 4-1 in the third against Bolt).
The women’s OOP calls for seven singles matches highlighted by Andrea Petkovic vs. American favorite Sloane Stephens.
There are 14 men’s matches on the docket including home favorite Frances Tiafoe against Hubert Hurkacz, Andy Murray vs British #1 Kyle Edmund, Hyeon Chung vs. Marcos Baghdatis, Young vs. Japanese #1 Kei Nishikori, and Atlanta champion John Isner facing Noah Rubin.