2013 @CitiOpen ATP Main Draw Preview, Predictions
ATP World Tour 500
July 29-August 4, 2013
Washington, D.C. USA
Top 8 seeds (top 16 receive first round byes)
1: Juan Martin Del Potro
2: Kei Nishikori
3: Tommy Haase
4: Milos Raonic
5: Gilles Simon
6: Sam Querrey
7: Kevin Anderson
8: John Isner
The Emirates Airline US Open Series continues on to Washington, where a strong field vies for top honors in the Nation’s Capital.
First round matchups to watch:
Lleyton Hewitt vs. Ryan Harrison
A pair of Atlanta semifinalists will meet as both Harrison and Hewitt performed well in A-town but just didn’t have quite enough to keep things going. They have never met before and both play solid defense. I’ll make Hewitt a slight favorite here. It’s good to seem them both rejuvenated.
Denis Istomin vs. Santiago Giraldo
A meeting of Atlanta quarterfinalists, Istomin and Giraldo have met twice in their careers but both times on clay. This will be the first hard court meeting. Istomin relies on serving well, while Giraldo will play good defense. I make Istomin a slight favorite here.
Radek Stepanek vs. (wc)Steve Johnson
Radek in DC
Stepanek will play his first event since Wimbledon, and he has had success in DC before, winning the 2011 edition of the tournament. Johnson, meanwhile, is just outside the top 100, and has an adept hardcourt game. Though he is a wildcard, I make him a slight favorite, depending on Steps inconsistent form.
Igor Sijsling vs. (wc)Jack Sock
The first meeting between Sijsling and Sock. They are both solid hardcourt players with powerful games, and Sijsling has had great success in doubles, while having middling success in singles the past 2 weeks. Sock was somewhat disappointing in Atlanta. I saw Sijsling plainly wilt in the Atlanta heat, and if DC is hot and/or humid, I give a slight edge to Sock.
2008 DC champ JMDP should get a bit of a test to open against the Hewitt/Harrison winner. If Del Potro can advance, one of David Goffin/Rendy Lu/Bernard Tomic are his choices. If Tomic is mentally put together, he has a good draw to round 3.
Current Atlanta finalist Kevin Anderson opens with current Lexington challenger finalist James Duckworth or a qualifier, followed by Julian Benneteau, a qualifier or Mardy Fish. A lot of people will be watching Fish here, as he played well in Atlanta but lost his opening match. His draw is actually not bad here. The 3rd round is possible.
2012 finalist Tommy Haas starts his US hardcourt campaign against a qualifier or Grega Zemlja and then could meet ATL quarterfinalist Ivan Dodig, if Dodig beats Tobias Kamke/Ricardas Berankis. Berankis will be looking to break out of a slump. If he beats Kamke, he would play Dodig in an Atlanta rematch (lost in 3 sets).
Sam Querrey gets the Giraldo/Istomin winner, which could be a tough ask, and the winner should face Grigor Dimitrov, as Dimitrov has the slumping Xaiver Malisse and Rajeev Ram in his section.
Milos Raonic will be another who starts his summer hardcourt campaign in the Nation’s Capital, playing local boy Denis Kudla or a qualifier to start. If Raonic advances, he would meet one of Nikolay Davydenko/James Blake/Marinko Matosevic in the quarters. Blake made the quarters in Atlanta, while Davy and Marinko are slumping, so JB could again do well here.
Gilles Simon will face Dmitry Tursunov or a qualifier and then the Radek Stepanek/Steve Johnson/Michael Llodra section winner. Johnson could perhaps upset the #2 Frenchmen, if he beats Llodra and Simon in order.
Kei Nishikori, is 11 in the world, but hasn’t played since Wimbledon like many others in the field. He’ll open against the Sock/Sijsling winner, and either Sock or Sijsling will have a punchers chance at an upset. After that, the winner gets a wide open section that features the slumping/declined Marcos Baghdatis, Granby challenger finalist Lukas Lacko (who bombed out of the first round in Atlanta and is perpetually inconsistent), and Alejandro Falla, the Bogota finalist who has firepower but lacks consistency.
John Isner, one of the Atlanta finalists, will play Alex Bogomolov or a qualifier and then could face one of two qualifiers or defending champ Alex Dolgopolov. Dolgo is playing atrociously right now and has not had a good year. Some of that can be chalked up to clay, but he has a lot of points to defend with a much stronger field in DC than last year.
Dark Horse: Steve Johnson
The aforementioned American wildcard is of course best on outdoor hardcourts, and though other darkhorses can be found, I’m going with him because of his draw, with Stepanek and Llodra, serve and volleyers who are somewhat aging. Then, he probably gets a somewhat off form Simon. All 3 of his first 3 matches would be winnable. After that, Raonic hasn’t been great this year, giving him an unlikely, but possible look at the semis.
Del Potro d. Anderson
Haas d. Dimitrov
Raonic d. Simon
Isner d. Nishikori
Del Po is 4-0 career against Anderson, and in fact Del Potro’s biggest test may be against Hewitt in round 2. Hewitt hasn’t beaten Del Po twice this year, once if you exclude an exhibition. Dimitrov beat Haas once in 2011 but Haas is better right now, and I say he wins the battle of the one-handed backhands. Raonic beat Simon once on clay in 2011, and though both are inconsistent, I give the edge to Milos on an outdoor hardcourt. Lastly, Isner and Nishikori have never met, but surface wise, and form wise, I give the edge to Isner ever so slightly.
Del Potro d. Haas
Isner d. Raonic
Del Po crushed Haas at Indian Wells this year, and is 4-0 career. Style-wise, the Argentine is a bad matchup for the German.
Isner beat Raonic on Toronto outdoor hardcourts last year and given their current form edge to Isner in a battle of the big servers.
Del Potro d. Isner
Del Po beat Isner in DC in 2008, and has beaten him 2 other times, going back to 2011. The Argentine can serve and hit his forehand about as well as Isner, but also do much more, and I expect him to win DC for the 2nd time.