By Romi Cvitkovic
WASHINGTON, D.C. – This is your official, highly complex, completely statistical and 100 percent dependable preview of the Citi Open men’s semifinals showdown featuring American Sam Querrey taking on Alexandr Dolgopolov, and No. 1 seed Mardy Fish dueling against German Tommy Haas.
Historically, the Citi Open has been won by some of tennis’ greatest including Andre Agassi, Ivan Lendl and Juan Martin Del Potro to name a few. But I bet you didn’t exactly how the winner gets determined.
Sure, the players hit a furry yellow ball back-and-forth over a net until one player inevitably gets tired and goes home. But there’s more to it than that. Each year, a tireless statistical team of miniature workmen decipher codes and trends in order to predict the winner, and I’ll let you in on their little-known secret.
It’s actually quite simple and begins by reviewing all the past winners of the Citi Open, and noting the first letter of their first name. Why the first name? Because, well, they said so. “A” for Andy Roddick, “J” for Jimmy Connors, and so forth. Secondly, each winning name is taken separately, so even if a player has won multiple times, each occurrence counts as one.
Given this highly complex set of information, let’s take a look at the chances of each of the men’s semifinalists winning the title.
“M” is for Mardy Fish
Fish elected to skip the Olympics in order to play Washington, and his choice for the most part paid off – no early loss or detrimental injury occurred here. His matches have gotten considerably cleaner during the week and it could all be culminating tomorrow in his first title since July of last year when he won Atlanta.
Calling on the trusty ATP World Tour website, it states that there has only been one past winner in Washington whose first name begins with an “M,” Michael Chang and he won twice in back-to-back years. No special bonus points there for that coincidence, Mardy. Sorry.
Moving on. Now that we know Mardy is one of four semifinalists and there are 42 past champions of the tournament, the probably of Mardy winning is one in four, given that Michael has won two in 42 times. Thus, Mardy’s chances of winning the Citi Open this year are a measly 15.99%.
“S” is for Sam Querrey
Querrey has been on the comeback trail recently, winning the Los Angeles title last week. He is looking to capitalize on his boosted confidence in order to be seeded in time for the U.S. Open. Querrey defeated his doubles partner and tournament No. 3 seed last night, but failed to break the 50% mark in first serves in. If he is to get past Alexandr Dolgopolov, he’ll need to get his serve in gear.
Using the same magical probability calculator, it’s unfortunate to note that there has sadly only been one past winner whose name begins with an “S,” Stefan Edberg. Bad news for QUerrey’s chances here, obviously, as his chances of winning are only 8.69%. Better luck next week, Sam.
“T” is for Tommy Haas
The German, who has yet to drop a set in this tournament, has also gotten increasingly sharper winning his quarterfinal match while dropping only three games. Following up on his stellar spring where he defeated Roger Federer after losing their last nine meetings, Haas claimed his first title of the year in Halle and met his goal. But can the German keep his game going and use that deft one-handed backhand to push his good friend Fish to the limit in the semis? It’s possible.
Historically, there have been three separate winners whose name begins with the letter “T,” Tim Henman, Tim Mayotte and Tony Roche, and each has won one title a piece. Given this, Tommy’s chances of winning his first Citi Open title is 22.22% percent – a healthy edge over Mardy or Sam.
Mighty good for the German, but is it enough to already engrave his name onto the stadium court list of past champions?
“A” is for Alexandr Dolgopolov
Potentially the least-known of the four semifinalists, Alex has struggled this year after reaching the final of Brisbane. He has been battling injury, and nearly lost his cool down 0-3 in the first set against James Blake last night in the quarterfinals. The 23-year-old carries an eccentric game with intense slices, but his serve has been a liability as of late.
But there is good news for the Ukrainian. Due to sheer luck, there have been THIRTEEN players whose first name starts with the letter “A,” Andy Roddick, Andre Agassi, Amos Mansdorf, Arthur Ashe, Arnaud Clement, Alex Corretja, Andres Gomez. Andre alone has won five times here, while Andy has won three. Given this, Alex’s chances of winning the tournament are astronomically skewed in his favor – a whopping 55.32%!
Maybe Alex should already call Andy and Andre and thank them for his Washington title …