By Romi Cvitkovic
A quick report on the happenings and results of the Citi Open including winners, wildcards, aces and overrules of various events around the grounds.
Major Hold: We’ve all by now heard about Sam Querrey’s great comeback to catapult up the rankings to world No. 38 after being outside of the top 100 just four months ago. But today at the Citi Open versus Benjamin Becker, Querrey managed to win all, yes ALL, 24 of his first serves for the match. By no means an easy opponent, Becker stayed with Querrey exchanging four breaks of serve between the two, and only lost 6-4, 6-3. The summer season continues to favor the young American and perhaps he can repeat his stellar 2010 when he won three titles in the summer alone.
Overrule: As the first women’s match of the whole week on stadium court, Eugenie Bouchard and Sloane Stephens did not disappoint. What did, however, was the scheduling. Although the men’s tournament is at a higher level, the women should have at least been given a handful of matches on stadium court prior to today’s quarterfinal round. What is of note though is that Stephens was placed on stadium court, while fellow American Sam Querrey and his doubles partner Kevin Anderson took on the duo of Eric Butorac and Paul Hanley on Grandstand 2 in an overcapacity crowd.
Winner: After looking a bit rough around the edges in his first match in D.C., Mardy Fish slipped past wildcard and Los Angeles finalist Ricardas Berankis in an easy 6-3, 6-1 victory. Not visibly hampered by his ankle injury sustained in Atlanta, Fish is favorable to reach the semifinals where he could potentially meet another veteran of the Tour, Tommy Haas. But he’ll have to work on his baseline game a bit, as he won just 16 of 36 points from the back of the court.
Wildcards: Steve Johnson and his doubles partner Drew Courtney are living the dream in Washington, D.C. Johnson, currently No. 360 in singles and No. 171 in doubles, and Courtney, No. 827 in doubles and unranked in singles were handed some luck when their second round opponent and No. 4 seed pulled out due to injury. They were replaced by a valiant alternate team, but the American duo was already well-adjusted to the courts and they pulled out a significant win today to land a spot in the men’s doubles quarterfinals. They next face Treat Huey and Dominic Inglot, who themselves pulled off an upset as they defeated the No. 2 seed of Robert Farah and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi.
Let: Just two days after defeating the No. 1 seed, James Blake and his doubles partner Tim Smyczek went out in a tiebreak blaze versus Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, 5-7, 6-3, 10-8. What is comforting for Blake fans though is that the loss was more due to Smyczek’s inexperienced hands than Blake’s errors. This ultimately opens up Blake to do well in the singles draw, but he’ll need to get past No. 2 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov tomorrow.
Ace: South African player Kevin Anderson, who was forced to skip the Olympics due to ITF ineligibility, redeemed his week by reaching the quarterfinals when he defeated French qualifier Florent Serra en route bombing 12 aces and winning 85% of first serves.
Deuce: Although not a clear out winner or ace, the five newly-surfaced practice courts on the southeast corner of the grounds are reminiscent of the ones at the U.S. Open, and may perhaps be even better for fans. There are no immense crowds jamming up against the barrier fence, and there is a walkway along the entire baseline of the courts as well. The players, however, stand in conflict with each other. While most of the female players have expressed their relief to have availability of courts for practice, some of the men have stated that there is not enough availability now that the women’s event has been added. As next year’s ATP level tournament is sure to boast more top players with the Olympics no longer a factor, the difference in opinions between the two tours is sure to escalate.