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Citi Open Champs

August 8, 2017

The Citi Open capped off a successful week by crowning Sascha Zverev and Ekaterina Makarova men's and women's champion respectively.

Ekaterina Makarova (Photo by: Oliver Devine) Ekaterina Makarova

The strong crowds and positive response from fans this year is due largely to the amount of talent the tournament was able to attract with three ATP men's top ten players and four previous Citi Open champions. Tournament officials have to woo the top ranks and hope the players play well here, ensuring their desire to return in the future.

Sascha Zverev (Photo by: Oliver Devine) Sascha Zverev

Zverev, whom I picked to win the tournament this year, is a perfect example of how to groom the tournament's draw towards future success.  He started playing here at age 18 in 2015, had incremental success, and is now the champion who will return to play in future years.  I believe he will prove to be the next superstar in men's tennis.  Zverev said upon receiving the Champion's Trophy, "DC is probably my favorite city in the U.S."

Julia Goerges (Photo by: Oliver Devine) Julia Goerges

That's the perfect answer for first year tournament director Keely O'Brien, the only female director of a combined ATP/WTA event in the entire world.  “The problem with having all these big names,” said O'Brien before the start of play, “is they’re all going to want to play on stadium court.”

Kevin Anderson (Photo by: Oliver Devine) Kevin Anderson

O'Brien's problem is the spectator's gain because the proximity to the players on the courts outside the stadium is a huge bonus. The fans' access to top tennis even on the grandstand courts makes the intimacy of the experience one of my favorite aspects of the Citi Open.  There are few professional sports were a young fan has a realistic chance of waiting outside of the court and getting an autograph or a selfie with one of their favorite players.  This happens regularly here.  I witnessed Alexandra Petkovic, women's semi-finalist, give a fan a big hug after her quarterfinal win and then apologize saying "I'm sorry I'm so sweaty."

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Late Night Action at Citi Open

August 4, 2017

Crazy rain delays Thursday, drama and upsets had Citi Open matches being played past 2:00 am.


Friday's Citi Open quarterfinal matches features both day and night sessions and there definitely will be drama on display. Guaranteed.

Kevin Anderson (Photo by: Oliver Devine) Kevin Anderson

Unknown Indian youngster Yuki Bhambri, whose fallen opponent's include last year's champion Gael Monfils, isn't the only Cinderella story playing out this weekend.  American wild card Tommy Paul has also reached the quarters along with countryman and No. 8 seed Jack Sock.  Sock has a tough matchup against Canadian Milos "The Missile" Raonic, while Paul has it even tougher against 2015 Champion Kei Nishikori.

Alexander Zverev (Photo by: Oliver Devine) Alexander Zverev

Bhambri, who had to play his way into the tournament in the qualifying rounds, faces 6'10" South African Kevin Anderson and his 140 mph serve.  Despite being favored over his next opponent, Anderson pulled off an upset of his own Thursday by beating No. 1 seed Dominic Thiem.  In the night's marquee match, Anderson's behemoth serve was broken twice by Thiem, however he continued to pull out clutch forehand winners, leaving Thiem frustrated throughout the three set match.

Dominic Thiem (Photo by: Oliver Devine) Dominic Thiem

Alexander Zverev, my pre-tournament pick to win, has to deal with the vexing Russian Daniil Medvedev, who used precariously timed trainer sessions versus an exasperated Steve Johnson to turn the emotional tide of a match he was losing into a victory.  Medvedev then managed to beat No. 4 seed Grigor Dimitrov in yet another upset match to reach the quarterfinals.

Grigor Dimitrov (Photo by: Oliver Devine) Grigor Dimitrov

All the emotional variables involved in more potential upsets combined with a clash of serious talent guarantees entertainment for Citi Open fans this weekend, regardless of whom you're pulling for.

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Don't Miss The Citi Open

August 2, 2017

Juan Martin del Potro (Photo by: Oliver Devine) Juan Martin del Potro

The Citi Open is in DC this week and definitely should not be missed!  The tournament features the most talented draw of international players the tournament has ever hosted in my opinion.


The first time No. 1 seed, Dominik Thiem, has already beaten World No. 1 Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic this year on his way to earning the top spot despite former champions Gael Monfils, Kei Nishikori and Juan Martin del Potro playing in the tournament.


Future stars No. 8 seed Jack Sock and No. 12 Mischa Zverev add serious upset potential to the field.  Don't sleep on Grigor Dimitrov or American Steve Johnson whose experience here is an advantage against the younger players.  Especially given the rain-delayed late matches and brutal humidity the D.C. climate virtually guarantees this time of year.


After this afternoon's victory over past champion Sloane Stephens, Romanian Simona Halep, playing in her first Citi Open, noted that players must "Come from the baseline and finish the point sooner, because it's not easy to stay in the heat".  Halep faces tough competition in the women's draw which includes Eugenie Bouchard, Sara Errani, Ekaterina Makarova, Andrea Petkovic and Julia Georges.


The Citi Open also features men's and women's doubles highlighted by the famous Bryan Brothers.  Play starts Approximately at 1:50 pm. During the week and 11:00 am on the weekend.

Gael Monfils (Photo by: Oliver Devine) Gael Monfils

Kei Nishikori (Photo by: Oliver Devine) Kei Nishikori

Andrea Petkovic (Photo by: Oliver Devine) Andrea Petkovic

Steve Johnson (Photo by: Oliver Devine) Steve Johnson

Mischa Zverev (Photo by: Oliver Devine) Mischa Zverev

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