No Sharing the Spotlight @CitiOpen Today For Jordi Arconada

No Sharing the Spotlight @CitiOpen Today For Jordi Arconada
Stephan Fogleman, Tennis East Coast

Jordi Arconada

The Washington Nationals sit in first place atop the National League East. The Washington Kastles go for their fourth consecutive title tomorrow night. Things are so good, DC Sports Fans might forget another show of athletic competition is going on around them this weekend. The Citi Open features 30 qualifying matches today and tomorrow, and admission won’t even set you back $20.

Among the likes of Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and the retiring Bobby Reynolds, you can add one more name to DC Summer Sports Legend:

Jordi Arconada.

Strangely, Jordi Arconada becomes the biggest local name this weekend at Citi Open. Arconada came up short against his good friend and classmate, Francis Tiafoe, at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Maryland last month as part of the Citi Open Wild Card Challenge Final.

Today was supposed to be the day the much-heralded Tiafoe made his ATP debut as a qualifier. That’s what DC fans thought he’d earned by winning the Wild Card Challenge, until the BB&T Atlanta Open threw him a qualifying wild card (and threw a curveball to Citi Open/JTCC fans) last week. He promptly won his first match there, depriving DC fans of being able to say they were there to see it happen.

DC had to do one better, and I’m glad they did. They granted Tiafoe a main draw slot, setting up his historic first on Monday. The qualifying wild card Tiafoe had earned in defeating Arconada went to Arconada, as it should.

Another JTCC prodigy and Jordi’s sister, Usue Arconada, won her first WTA match here last year at Citi Open and was expected to play today. But she’s gone to tear it up in Austin.

That leaves Jordi Arconada as the Big Deal today. Often overshadowed by his sister, Usue, and BFF Francis, it is Jordi who will be lavished with support by area fans this weekend.

Sure, there’s the boisterous and sizable contingent of Virginia Cava-Cheerleaders who will bring the love for UVA’s Justin and Ryan Shane at their first ATP tour-level event appearance, but most eyes will be on Arconada.

For one, he’s 17. Every fan wants to say he saw a future star way back when. He’s also playing Michael Llodra, a 34-year-old Frenchman with 5 ATP titles, and get this….a 10-year old daughter.

Everyone loves the battle of the vet versus the kid. This is that battle.

And for once, a brother of a rising tennis star and best friend of another, he doesn’t have to share the spotlight.

CITI OPEN – WASHINGTON DC, USA
USD 1,654,295.00 (ATP)
USD 250,000.00 (WTA)
28 JULY – 3 AUGUST 2014

ORDER OF PLAY – SATURDAY, JULY 26, 2014
STADIUM COURT start 10:00 am
ATP – Qualifying – S Groth (AUS) vs [WC] S Kozlov (USA)

Not Before 11:30 am
ATP – Qualifying – R Ginepri (USA) vs S Diez (CAN)
ATP – Qualifying – A Kuznetsov (USA) vs [WC] R Shane (USA)
WTA – Qualifying – A Mueller (USA) vs T Townsend (USA)

GRANDSTAND 1 start 10:00 am
ATP – Qualifying – Y Bhambri (IND) vs S Bangoura (USA)
ATP – Qualifying – [WC] J Shane (USA) vs Z Zhang (CHN)

Not Before 1:00 pm
ATP – Qualifying – S Singh (IND) vs E Gomez (ECU)
WTA – Qualifying – [WC] T Black (USA) vs L Chirico (USA)

GRANDSTAND 2 start 10:00 am
ATP – Qualifying – Y Sugita (JPN) vs T Garanganga (ZIM)
ATP – Qualifying – J Donaldson (USA) vs G Lama (CHI)
WTA – Qualifying – M Larcher de Brito (POR) vs S Dubois (CAN)
WTA – Qualifying – T Smitkova (CZE) vs P Rampre (SLO)

COURT 1 start 10:00 am
ATP – Qualifying – A Benneteau (FRA) vs I Marchenko (UKR)
ATP – Qualifying – [WC] J Arconada (ARG) vs M Llodra (FRA)
WTA – Qualifying – S Marand (USA) vs H Kuwata (JPN)
WTA – Qualifying – T Paszek (AUT) vs E Webley-Smith (GBR)

COURT 2 start 10:00 am
ATP – Qualifying – M Copil (ROU) vs S Myneni (IND)
ATP – Qualifying – R Ram (USA) vs M Shabaz (USA)
WTA – Qualifying – O Rogowska (AUS) vs J Coin (FRA)
WTA – Qualifying – A Rodionova (AUS) vs G Dabrowski (CAN)

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Francis Tiafoe (@FTiafoe) Nabs Main Draw Wild Card @CitiOpen

FRANCIS TIAFOE AWARDED WILD CARD ENTRY TO CITI OPEN® TOURNAMENT MAIN DRAW
Three Other Top Juniors Receiving Wild Card Entries to Qualifying Rounds

Francis Tiafoe

WASHINGTON — Francis Tiafoe, the No. 6 ranked junior in International Tennis Federation, has received a wild card entry to the main draw of the Citi Open® Tournament. It will be the College Park, Md., native’s first foray into an ATP World Tour tournament’s main draw.

Tiafoe, 16, won the Citi Open® Wild Card Challenge in June and earned his spot with a wild card entry in the qualifying rounds. Tournament officials, however, decided that main draw play would be more fitting for the hometown player.

“We’re excited to watch Francis in his first main draw match,” said Jeff Newman, tournament director. “This is his hometown and this is where he trains, so we expect a great crowd to come out and support him.”

Francis Tiafoe

Tiafoe trains at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, one of the leading training programs in the country. In 2012, he became the youngest winner of the Orange Bowl Championship, and earlier this year, played at both French Open Juniors and Wimbledon Juniors.

“I’m so excited to play in my first main draw ATP event and I can’t imagine a better place to play than in front of my hometown crowd,” Tiafoe said. “I’m so thankful to the Citi Open® for giving me this great opportunity.”

Citiopen Official Site

Three other juniors will receive a wild card entry into the qualifying rounds, beginning Saturday, July 26. Stefan Kozlov, 16, the current No. 2 ranked junior in the world, reached the finals of both Australian Open Juniors and Wimbledon Juniors this year. University of Virginia junior Ryan Shane, 20, helped the Cavaliers win the NCAA championship in 2013, and was recently named “Player to Watch” by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Jordi Arconada, 17, the runner-up in the Wild Card Challenge, will take Tiafoe’s place in the qualifying rounds.

—S. Pegarido, Citi Open

2014 ATP @BBTAtlantaOpen, @CroatiaOpenUmag, @OpenGstaad Previews & Picks

2014 ATP Atlanta, Umag and Gstaad Previews & Picks
Steen Kirby, Tennis East Coast

A trio of 250 events are on tap for the ATP world tour this week: two on Europe in clay, and of course, the start of the summer US Open Series in Atlanta on outdoor hard courts. Since I no longer live in Atlanta, we unfortunately do not have onsite coverage from the tournament this year like we have had the previous two years.

BB&T Atlanta Open
BB&T Atlanta Open
ATP World Tour 250
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
July 21-July 27, 2014
Prize Money: $568,805

Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: John Isner (12)
2: Kevin Anderson (17)
3: Gael Monfils (23)
4: Vasek Pospisil (34)

Richard Gasquet pulled out of Atlanta, so the tournament now has two top 20 players in the field, both of whom met in the final last year.

First round matchups to watch:

(8)Marinko Matosevic vs. Victor Estrella
Matosevic is playing his first tournament since Wimbledon with a strong grass court season overall. His recent performances have very nearly propelled him into the top 50. Estrella reached his first career ATP semifinal in Bogota at the age of 33 and he played some great tennis in the Colombian capital, including a straight sets upset victory over Richard Gasquet. Matosevic has a stronger career record and is better on hard courts, but Estrella has the mojo. This match will be interesting, but I don’t see Estrella being able to rebound so quickly, so Matosevic should advance.

(9)Sam Querrey vs. Steve Johnson
Surprisingly, the two top 70 ranked Americans have never met before, but they will meet in the opening tournament of the US Open series. Querrey has not played since Wimbledon, while Johnson has had a career year so far. They both do their best on faster surfaces, and the form advantage favors Stevie J. He should get past Sam here.

Lukas Lacko vs. (WC)Nathan Pasha
ATP journeyman Lukas Lacko will take on UGA tennis star Nate Pasha in what should be an intriguing match. Pasha got a wild card into qualies here the last two years, and both times he pushed his opponent to three sets before losing both matches. Lacko will be a heavy favorite, but he comes off a very poor showing in the Granby Challenger and he has always been known as an inconsistent player. I give Pasha a puncher’s chance to pull off a great upset victory here, and it is worth watching to see what the NCAA player can accomplish.

Top Half:

Local boy John Isner, the top seed, who has never played poorly in Atlanta, will face Robby Ginepri/Sergiy Stakhovsky in round 2. After that, he will get one of Matosevic/Burgos/Ryan Harrison/Tim Smyczek in the quarters.

Harrison will be under some pressure here, as he is defending semifinal points that he can’t afford to lose given his ranking already outside the top 140. Remember that he had to take a wild card to get main draw entry here. Harrison beat Matosevic in Atlanta last year, but I think that result will flip this time and we will see an Isner vs. Matosevic quarterfinal.

Gael Monfils, making his Hotlanta debut, will face Jack Sock or Alejandro Gonzalez. Sock played well in Newport where he reached the semis, and he has a bit of a dark horse shot here. Yet Monfils, who is playing for the first time since Wimbledon, beat him at the AO this year in straights and will likely reach the quarterfinals. Monfils should face Denis Istomin at that stage. Denis the Menace has a qualifier and Pasha/Lacko as his first two opponents. That’s a very easy route to quarterfinal points. Monfils has two indoor victories against Istomin including one this year, but Istomin had a good grass court season, so it should be a high quality match.

Bottom Half:

Kevin Anderson came up just short of taking the title last year and should be thirsty for continued success here. He faces a qualifier in his first match, and then one of Rendy Lu/qualifier/Matt Ebden/Benjamin Becker in the quarterfinals. That’s an easy-breezy route for the top South African player to get to the semifinals and he may not drop a set along the way. Both Lu and Becker have had patches of success this season and Lu likely has the best chance at the quarterfinals.

Vasek Pospisil still cannot find his form since returning from his back injury, and he is in serious trouble of taking a big tumble down the rankings soon. He still has that bye seed line for this tournament and his first opponent will be a qualifier and then Querrey/Johnson in the quarters.

Atlantan Donald Young could spoil the party though. He faces Dudi Sela first. Vashy and Stevie J are very similar players in terms of their strengths and weaknesses, but Steve is playing better right now and has a 2-0 h2h edge, so I have Johnson through to the semis.

Dark Horse: Jack Sock
Steve Johnson is also an unseeded dark horse this week, but Sock gets the designation. Gonzalez, his first opponent, isn’t known to be a particularly gifted hard court player and Monfils has always struggled with consistency. Should he upset the Flying Frenchman, Istomin in the quarters and then Isner/Matosevic in the semis would be his next two opponents. He just upset Isner in Newport after losing three previous meetings, including a meeting in Atlanta in 2012. Sock has the momentum right now.

Predictions
Semis:
Isner d. Monfils
Anderson d. Johnson

Isner and Monfils have a lengthy history against each other, and Isner comes out on top in the hard court h2h 4-2. Atlanta is one of the few places that Isner will have more crowd support than Monfils and that should pull him through a potential semifinal meeting.

Anderson and Johnson have met in Auckland and Delray this season already and the h2h record is split. This match could go either way, but Anderson played well here last year and the courts and hot temps seem to suit him well.

I have him going through, probably by winning a pair of tiebreaks.

Final:
Isner d. Anderson

Isner

They met last year, and played three nail biting tiebreaks before Isner finally prevailed in the heat. Overall, he has beaten the South African twice in Atlanta and 6 times overall, while Anderson has 4 wins out of their ten meetings. This match would again be all about breaking serve and tiebreaks. A single break of serve or a tiebreak victory likely will swing the needle one way or another if they meet. I’m going with a repeat of last year and Isner to get the title.

Umag
ATP Umag
Vegeta Croatia Open Umag

ATP World Tour 250
Umag, Croatia
July 21-July 27, 2014
Prize Money: € 426,605

Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Fabio Fognini (15)
2: Tommy Robredo (20)
3: Marin Cilic (22)
4: Joao Sousa (35)

The clay 250 in Umag boasts two top 20 players and a solid-enough overall field.

First round matchups to watch:

Albert Montanes vs. (SE)Alex Zverev
Montanes has been in awful form as of late, and that makes this match prime pickings for Zverev, who reached his first career ATP semifinal in Hamburg at the age of 17. After being dealt baked goods by David Ferrer in that semi, the young German may be fatigued. It’s hard to predict how he will do. If he’s fresh, he should win this match. Zverev showed excellent skill and mental fortitude in Hamburg, well beyond his years.

(7)Edouard Roger-Vasselin vs. (WC)Borna Coric
ERV is playing his first tournament since Wimbledon, and he faces another great young player, Coric, who is seeking his first career ATP win after three previous 3 set losses between this season and last. Coric hasn’t had quite the rise that Kyrgios and Zverev have had, but he is due for a breakthrough as well, because he is just as gifted of a player. This week, he has a chance to announce his arrival on the main stage.

Top Half:

Fabio Fognini is struggling and he was upset early by Filip Krajinovic in Hamburg. The defending finalist could face a strong opening test with Zverev (or Montanes) but he is still my pick to get through to the quarterfinals to face one of Roger-Vasselin/Coric/Ante Pavic/qualifier. A hypothetical Zverev vs. Coric quarterfinal would be a battle of the young guns. Pavic/qualifier is not that imposing for Coric/ERV.

I am intrigued to see who will survive this section.

Joao Sousa will face Dusan Lajovic/Teymuraz Gabashvili in his first match. Sousa beat Lajovic recently in Bastad and both players have had good seasons overall. Lajovic comes off the quarters in Hamburg and a Sousa-Lajovic round 2 meeting is an absolute toss-up.

Sousa/Lajovic are likely to face Andreas Seppi in the quarterfinals, as Seppi, who has not had a good season, has a weak section featuring a pair of a qualifiers and wild card Mate Delic with whom to do battle. As a three-time semifinalist and a reliable clay court player throughout his career, the Italian number 2 should reach the quarters.

Bottom Half:

Tommy Robredo has continued to struggle. He’s just 1-2 in his last three matches, but with Benoit Paire/Albert Ramos as his first slated opponent, the defending champion should still be able to reach the quarterfinals. Ramos and Robredo have a 1-1 split h2h with both meetings on clay, and Ramos has qualified for both Bastad and Hamburg in consecutive weeks. Robredo/Ramos are likely to meet Carlos Berlocq in the quarters.

The Argentine has had a solid season, but has lost two straight matches. He opens with a qualifier and should be able to snap his losing streak before facing Pablo Carreno Busta/Paolo Lorenzi. PCB has a chance to sneak in the quarterfinals as well, but form is not in his favor after having lost two straight matches.

2012 champion and local favorite Marin Cilic will face Igor Sijsling/Julian Reister in his first match and then likely Lukas Rosol, who is in great form right now, in the quarterfinals. Rosol must first beat Diego Sebastian Schwartzman and Pere Riba/Jiri Vesely. Rosol made the final in Stuttgart and the quarters in Hamburg, but Cilic, who is playing for the first time since Wimbledon, has beaten him three previous times without dropping a set.

Rosol and Vesely are Davis Cup teammates, so if they meet in round 2, they will know each other’s games very well.

Dark Horse: Dusan Lajovic
Coric, Zverev and Ramos could all make solid runs this week, but Lajovic likely has the best chance at doing the improbable. The in-form Serbian must first get past Gabashvili and Sousa, but after that, with Seppi and one of Fognini/Zverev/Coric/ERV awaiting in the semis, he could find himself in the final this week in what would be his first career ATP final.

Predictions
Semis:
Fognini d. Lajovic
Cilic d. Berlocq

Fognini is an incredibly inconsistent player right now and he very well could crash out with a double bagel in his first match, but if can play anywhere near up to par, the quality of his opponents should allow him to reach the final. Cilic is a local favorite and a strong player overall who should be able to get through to the final, with Berlocq having a slight edge to advance to the semis.

Final:
Cilic d. Fognini

Cilic and Fabio have a 1-1 clay h2h and Cilic beat Fognini in the Umag semis in 2011. With Fognini being terribly inconsistent, Cilic should take another ATP title this week.

Gstaad Official Site (Photo: Valeriano Di Domenico)

Gstaad Official Site (Photo: Valeriano Di Domenico)


ATP Gstaad
Credit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad

ATP World Tour 250
Gstaad, Switzerland
July 21-July 27, 2014
Prize Money: € 426,605

Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Mikhail Youzhny (19)
2: Marcel Granollers (28)
3: Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (31)
4: Fernando Verdasco (33)

Gstaad has the strong traveling Spanish Armada contingent but just one top 25 player, making it the weakest tournament this week.

First round matchups to watch:

Thomaz Bellucci vs. (Q)Gerald Melzer
The younger Melzer is seeking his first career ATP main draw victory, as he qualified here. Melzer has had a hard time breaking through to this level but he will have a chance against Bellucci, who hasn’t been a good player in a while and has continued to struggle recently. He’s lost two straight on clay and hasn’t had a good result since before the French Open. Melzer should get that elusive first career ATP win in this one.

(8)Dominic Thiem vs. (WC)Viktor Troicki

Jesse_Pinkman
Usually, the young Dominic Thiem is the focal point of his featured matches, but this time it is Troicki, who is returning from a very contentious doping suspension 12 months later. Troicki has been practicing with his compatriot Novak Djokovic among others to stay in shape. He is playing his first tournament match in a year and he starts from scratch in terms of ranking. There was some contention about whether he would get a wild card here. Gstaad did finally award him one, but Thiem is a tough opponent in any return to the tour. This week, he is seeded for the first time in his career at the ATP level and he has had an excellent season. He won a pair of matches in Hamburg last week and he should give Troicki a good workout as the Serbian seeks to return to his former level, with a serious chip on his shoulder this time.

Top Half:

Mikhail Youzhny will face Filippo Volandri/Kenny De Schepper in his first match. The defending champion has not had a good season and he lost to Zverev in Hamburg, but he should reach the quarters given king Kenny and Super Pippo are in even worse form right now. Youzhny vs. Robin Haase is the expected quarterfinal. That would be a rematch of last year’s final here, though the Dutchman Haase is also struggling and hasn’t had a good season. He faces Aleksandr Nedovyesov first, then one of Gianni Mina or Henri Laaksonen. The Swiss Laaksonen will have a dark horse chance at the quarters, but Youzhny may well reach the semifinals by default this week, thanks to a lucky draw.

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez will face Juan Monaco/Victor Hanescu first up, then one of Melzer/Bellucci/Dustin Brown/Frederico Delbonis in the quarters. Both Delbo and GGL have lost two straight matches, but they are still likely to be quarterfinalists here, with Hanescu and Monaco both in awful form and Brown too inconsistent to be the pick. I would favor GGL through to the semifinals.

Bottom Half:

Marcel Granollers lost to Thiem in Hamburg and he’s had a poor season overall. However, with his first match against Yann Marti/Daniel Gimeno-Traver, he still should reach the quarters. Gilles Simon is the seed above Granollers. He faces Pablo Andujar first before Blaz Rola/Fabiano De Paula.

This section is likely to be the most competitive: Andujar has a win on clay against Simon and he won three matches in Hamburg, while Simon won just one and has had a poor season. The Spaniard will have a chance at the upset. Rola is the player to watch here however. He’s been rising up the rankings, mostly under the radar, and he just had a good result in a clay challenger in Poland. This is the type of draw he could take advantage of and reach the quarterfinals or better.

Fernando Verdasco will face Andreas Haider-Maurer or JL Struff in round 2, then one of Thiem/Troicki/Andrey Golubev/Inigo Cervantes in the quarters. Verdasco has lost two straight matches where he was a strong favorite, and it’s Thiem who should get through all that and reach the semis over the Spaniard.

Dark Horse: Blaz Rola
As mentioned above, Rola has a realistic path to the semifinals this week, with Simon/Andujar and Granollers both struggling veterans. These small 250 events tend to produce interesting results and Rola could be another player with a breakthrough this year.

Predictions
Semis:
Garcia-Lopez d. Youzhny
Thiem d. Rola

GGL has never lost to Youzhny on clay (4-0) and he has had a better season than the Russian. Thiem-Rola would be a young gun semi, and I like the Austrian to continue his career year and reach his first career ATP final this week in Gstaad.

Final:
Thiem d. Garcia-Lopez

They have never met before, but I’m tipping Thiem to win his maiden ATP title this week. He’s due for one and it should be the first of many, especially on clay.

It’s @Gibbsyyyy over Oudin @USTAProCircuit Carson CA

NICOLE GIBBS DEFEATS MELANIE OUDIN TO CAPTURE USTA PLAYER DEVELOPMENT WOMEN’S $50,000 CLASSIC IN CARSON

Nicole Gibbs Carson

CARSON, July 20, 2014 – Nicole Gibbs moved another step closer to playing in her third consecutive US Open main draw, capturing the USTA Player Development Women’s $50,000 Classic with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Melanie Oudin on Sunday at the USTA Training Center – West at StubHub Center.

Gibbs, 21, is a two-time NCAA singles winner at Stanford and earned wild-card entry into the season’s final Grand Slam the past two years by way of those wins.

With one event remaining in the US Open Wild Card Challenge, Gibbs now leads in the standings with 88 points. She is followed by Julia Boserup (63 points), Oudin (48), Louisa Chirico (44) and Sanaz Marand (30).
The final of the three-event US Open Wild Card Challenge is the Lexington, Ky., $50,000 Challenger to be played this week.

It was a tight battle throughout in the final on Sunday with Gibbs holding a 4-2 lead in the second set, before the sole of her shoe came partially off. Admitting she started to “panic,” Gibbs fell down 4-all, 40-love with Oudin serving. Gibbs then played a solid point, was aided by an untimely Oudin double fault and ultimately broke back to serve for the match.

“Tennis is like that sometimes,” said Gibbs, who won this event last year when it was held in Yakima, Wash. Without a spare pair of tennis shoes, Gibbs contemplated wearing running shoes, but opted for a tape job instead, which seemed to do the trick.

Oudin’s first-round loss in US Open qualifying last year to Elena Baltacha ended a streak of five consecutive main draw appearances at the US Open, which of course included her quarterfinal run there in 2009.
“It’s one tournament,” said Oudin, who did not play in Sacramento last week but will play Lexington, of the US Open. “I’m not worrying about this wild card. It’s the last thing on my mind. If I play well I can qualify on my own. But if I do win this wild card that’s just an added bonus.”

Gibbs Oudin Carson

Gibbs, a nearby Marina Del Rey resident, said she loved playing so close to home. “Just the title of the tournament, ‘Carson $50,000,’ ” she said. “It’s so exciting to be at the place I train and have my community supporting me.”

USTA Player Development Women’s $50,000 Classic
A USTA Pro Circuit Event

Sunday, July 20
USTA Training Center – West at StubHub Center
Carson, Calif.
Purse: $50,000
Surface: Hard-Outdoor

Sunday, July 20 – RESULT
Singles – Final
(2) Nicole Gibbs (USA) def. (4) Melanie Oudin (USA), 6-4, 6-4

—S. Pratt, USTA

WIMBLEDON CHAMPS @VASEKPOSPISIL & @JACKSOCK JOIN #1 @BRYANBROS @BRYANBROTHERS IN BIG DOUBLES FIELD @CITIOPEN

WIMBLEDON CHAMPS @VASEKPOSPISIL & @JACKSOCK JOIN WORLD NO. 1 @BRYANBROS @BRYANBROTHERS IN BIG DOUBLES FIELD AT CITI OPEN® TOURNAMENT

Sockpisil (Getty)

Eight of top ten doubles players in ATP World Tour scheduled to compete

WASHINGTON—On the heels of their Wimbledon triumph, Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock reunite as a team and join World No. 1 Mike and Bob Bryan in the world-class doubles field at the Citi Open® tournament. Main draw play begins July 28 at the William H.G. Fitzgerald Tennis Center in Rock Creek Park.

Bob & Mike

Bob & Mike

Eight of the top ten doubles players in the ATP World Tour are scheduled to compete. In addition to the Bryans, the teams of Alexander Peya (No. 3) and Bruno Soares (No. 3), Daniel Nestor (No. 5) and Nenad Zimonjic (No. 6), and Marcelo Melo (No. 7) and Ivan Dodig (No. 10) round out the top ten. Julien Benneteau, who captured the Citi Open title in 2013 with Zimonjic, partners with Michael Llodra, while 2012 Citi Open champs Treat Huey and Dominic Inglot will vie to reclaim the crown.

Treat Huey and Dominic Inglot, 2012 ATP Washington
The Bryans are looking to win their unprecedented 99th career team win in Washington, where they’ve held the doubles title three times. During the 2013 season, the 36-year-old American twins completed a Golden Slam—they won the gold in the 2012 London Olympics followed by all four Grand Slam titles in a row. Together, the Bryans have won a record 15 Grand Slam titles. Also in 2013, the Bryans finished as the No. 1 team for a record 9th time in 11 years.

The Canadian-American duo of Pospisil and Sock, who have never competed together until the London Grand Slam, accepted a wild card into the main draw. Pospisil and Sock upset defending Wimbledon champions Bryans in a five-set match to claim their first Grand Slam title.

Vasek Pospisil

Vasek Pospisil

For a complete list of the men’s doubles player field, visit http://www.citiopentennis.com. The impressive men’s singles field includes three of the top ten players on the ATP World Tour—Tomas Berdych, Milos Raonic, and Grigor Dimitrov. Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard headlines the women’s singles field.

The Citi Open® Tournament is one of only 11 elite ATP World Tour 500-level events worldwide and the only one held in the United States. The event is also part of the prestigious Emirates Airline US Open Series, the five-week summer tennis season that links eight North American hard-court tournaments to the final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open. In addition, the Citi Open® Tournament features a WTA International Tournament. The tournament’s owner and beneficiary, the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation (WTEF), provides underserved children in the D.C. area with a safe environment to learn critical life skills both on and off the courts through academic and athletic enrichment.

Ticket pricing and package details plus a full listing of the men’s player field is now available at http://www.citiopentennis.com, or by phone at 202-721-9500. Daily and single session tickets are now available through Ticketmaster. The tournament box office for walk-up sales opens starting Saturday, July 26, at 8 a.m. at the Fitzgerald Tennis Center.

For more information, visit the Citi Open® Tournament on the web at http://www.citiopentennis.com.

—S. Pegarido, Citi Open

Wild-Carded @CitiOpen: @TomasBerdych

Berdych

Berdych

WASHINGTON (July 16, 2014)—Tomas Berdych, ranked No. 5 on the ATP World Tour, joins the outstanding list of players committed to the Citi Open® Tournament, to be held July 26 – Aug. 3 at the William H.G. Fitzgerald Tennis Center in Rock Creek Park.

The highest ranking Czech joins fellow top ten players, including Milos Raonic (No. 6) and Grigor Dimitrov (No.9), both of whom rose in the rankings since their successful semifinal Wimbledon runs.

So far in 2014, Berdych won his ninth career title at the ATP World Tour 500 event in Rotterdam, and his second doubles career title at Doha. Most recently, the 6’5” Czech was featured in ESPN The Magazine’s 2014 Body Issue. He last played in the Washington tournament in 2010 as the tournament’s top seed, on the heels of reaching the finals at Wimbledon, upsetting Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals and semifinals along the way. The 28-year-old has also been a consistent face in the top ten rankings each year since he broke through in 2010.

“The addition of Berdych to the tournament roster alongside other top ten players Raonic and Dimitrov speaks to the incredible strength of this year’s men’s player field,” said Jeff Newman, Tournament Director. “With three elite top ten players now, fans are in for a real treat.”

The superb men’s field also includes players just outside of the top ten — Japan’s top player, Kei Nishikori (No. 11); top American and 2013 Citi Open® runner-up John Isner (No. 12); and top French player Richard Gasquet (No. 14). Kevin Anderson (No. 17), Gael Monfils (No. 23), and Feliciano Lopez (No. 25), round out the men’s singles field in the top 25. In addition, Wimbledon doubles champions Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock will compete in men’s singles. The doubles field will be announced at a later date, headlined by world No. 1 team Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, who will vie for their 99th team career title.

The remaining spots will be filled with the winners of the qualifying rounds on July 26-27 and wild cards as determined by Citi Open® Tournament officials. Main draw play will begin Monday, July 28. Players are subject to change due to injury or other unforeseen circumstances.

The women’s field is shaping up to be great as well, with Wimbledon runner-up and world No. 7 Eugenie Bouchard leading the roster. American fan favorite Sloane Stephens will also return to Washington for the fourth time in her career, along with Wimbledon semifinalist Lucie Safarova and Eastbourne titleholder Madison Keys.

The Citi Open® Tournament is one of only 11 elite ATP World Tour 500-level events worldwide and the only one held in the United States. The event is also part of the prestigious Emirates Airline US Open Series, the five-week summer tennis season that links eight North American hard-court tournaments to the final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open. In addition, the Citi Open® Tournament features a WTA International Tournament. The tournament’s owner and beneficiary, the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation (WTEF), provides underserved children in the D.C. area with a safe environment to learn critical life skills both on and off the courts through academic and athletic enrichment.

Ticket pricing and package details plus a full listing of the men’s player field is now available at http://www.citiopentennis.com, or by phone at 202-721-9500. Daily and single session tickets are now available through Ticketmaster. The tournament box office for walk-up sales opens starting Saturday, July 26, at 8 a.m. at the Fitzgerald Tennis Center.

For more information, visit the Citi Open® Tournament on the web at http://www.citiopentennis.com. The Citi Open® Tournament is on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CitiOpen and on Twitter at @CitiOpen. The 2014 Citi Open® Tournament is a Lagardère Unlimited production. Citi Open® Tournament is a registered service mark of Citigroup Inc.

—S. Pegarido, Citi Open

Grade 1 @ITF_Tennis Tournament Returns @TheJTCC

INTERNATIONAL TENNIS FEDERATION JUNIOR TOURNAMENT TO RETURN TO JUNIOR TENNIS CHAMPIONS CENTER IN AUGUST
Prince George’s County Announced as Official Title Sponsor

Marika Akkerman, 2012 ITF Prince George's County, Maryland

Marika Akkerman, 2012 ITF Prince George’s County, Maryland

(College Park, MD) July 15, 2014 — Today the Junior Tennis Champions Center (JTCC) announced that Prince George’s County will become the official title sponsor of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Grade 1 Junior Tournament, which returns to College Park, Md. for the third consecutive year. The Prince George’s County International Junior Tennis Championships will take place at the College Park Tennis Club.

“Hosting a premier international junior sporting event for the third straight year is consistent with the Junior Tennis Champions Center’s pursuit of excellence” said JTCC Chief Executive Officer, Ray Benton. “We are thrilled to be able to showcase our stellar facility and again serve as the North American host venue.”

The tournament will take place two weeks prior to the junior US Open tournament, and will attract the finest male and female junior players from around the world. Some of the players who will be competing in this event are top world ranked juniors: Francis Tiafoe, Usue Arconada and Raveena Kingsley. The Prince George’s County International Junior Tennis Championships is slated to begin with the local wildcard qualifying tournament from Aug. 11 to Aug. 13, which will lead into the Qualifying tournament from Aug. 16 to Aug 17. The main draw will kick off on Aug. 18 and conclude on Aug. 24.

“Prince George’s County is quickly becoming known throughout the world as Tennis County USA, thanks to the amazing work of the Junior Tennis Champions Center,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III. “We are proud to support one of the United States Tennis Association’s premier tennis tournament and we welcome this year’s cadre of players from around the world to College Park. This tournament is another example of why Prince George’s County is the place to be!”

Additional sponsors of the Prince George’s County International Junior Tennis Championships include the United States Tennis Association (USTA), International Tennis Federation (ITF), Laurel Springs School and Holiday Inn of College Park.

—B. Brand, JTCC