Scouting Report: 30 Things To Watch In Washington, Kitzbuhel & Los Cabos
Another week, another set of three exciting tournaments being held on the ATP World Tour. Five hundred ATP Rankings points are up for grabs at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. at the 50th edition of the event. Alexander Zverev, the defending champion, is the top seed.
In the last tour-level clay-court event of 2018, Dominic Thiem will try to capture his third trophy of the campaign at the Generali Open, held in Kitzbuhel. In another ATP World Tour 250-level event, reigning BNP Paribas Open champion and World No. 4 Juan Martin del Potro leads the field at the Abierto Mexicano de Tenis Mifel presentado por Cinemex in Los Cabos. American Sam Querrey is the defending champion, and he will attempt to retain a title for the second time.
10 THINGS TO WATCH IN WASHINGTON
1) 50th Celebration: The 50th edition of the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. features an outstanding line-up with seven of the Top 20 players in the ATP Rankings (as of July 23). Reigning champion Zverev is the top seed followed by three-time finalist John Isner.
2) On the Clock: For the first time on the ATP World Tour, a 25-second serve clock will be implemented during the tournament. It will be used at three other events leading into the US Open.
3) Alexander the Great: The No. 3-ranked Zverev comes in with a 36-11 match record on the season with clay titles in Munich and the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Madrid. In his last hard-court tournament at the Masters 1000 tournament in Miami this April, he reached the final (l. to Isner). Zverev is 11-2 at the Citi Open.
4) Big John: No. 2 seed Isner is putting together his best season, including his first Masters 1000 crown in Miami and his maiden Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon. The 33-year-old Greensboro, N.C. native has a 25-9 record at the Citi Open, reaching the final in 2007, 2013 and 2015.
5) Murray Returns: Former World No. 1 Andy Murray, who reached the final in his Citi Open debut 12 years ago and lost in the second round in 2015, is playing in his first hard-court tournament since March 2017 in Indian Wells. Murray, who underwent hip surgery in January, has dropped to No. 838 (as of July 23) after his Wimbledon quarter-final points from last year dropped off. This is his third tournament in 2018.
6) #NextGenATP Sextet: Six of the Top 10 in the ATP Race to Milan standings are in D.C.: No. 2 Stefanos Tsitsipas, No. 3 Denis Shapovalov, No. 4 Frances Tiafoe, No. 5 Alex de Minaur, No. 7 Andrey Rublev, and No. 10 Hubert Hurkacz. Zverev is the leader in the Race to Milan and is No. 3 in the ATP Race to London for the Nitto ATP Finals.
7) Hometown Kids: No. 13 seed Tiafoe, who is from nearby Hyattsville, Md., and Denis Kudla, from Arlington, Va., are looking to win their first match at the Citi Open. Tiafoe, who cracked the Top 50 after Wimbledon, is 0-2 in D.C. Kudla, who returned to the Top 100 last month, is 0-4.
8) Eye on 500: Former World No. 8 Mikhail Youzhny is two wins from the 500-Wins Club. Youzhny has the most wins among Russians in the Open Era. He is making his first D.C. visit since 2009.
9) Wild Cards: Two of last year’s quarter-finalists, Daniil Medvedev and Tommy Paul, are among the five wild cards. The others are former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka, who is playing in D.C. for the first time since 2010, Noah Rubin and Tim Smyczek.
10) Strong Doubles: Six of the Top 10 teams in the ATP Doubles Race to London standings are in the draw, led by No. 1 Oliver Marach & Mate Pavic, who clinched a spot in the season finale. The others are: No. 3 Juan Sebastian Cabal & Robert Farah, No. 4 Nikola Mektic & Alexander Peya, No. 6 Raven Klaasen & Michael Venus, No. 7 Jamie Murray & Bruno Soares, and No. 8 Lukasz Kubot & Marcelo Melo. The reigning champions are Henri Kontinen & John Peers.
10 THINGS TO WATCH IN KITZBUHEL
1) Final Clay Stop: The final 2018 clay-court tournament on the ATP World Tour is located in the Alps in the Tyrol region of Austria and is one of the most picturesque venues in tennis. The top seed is Thiem, who is trying to become the first Austrian champion at the tournament since Thomas Muster in 1993.
2) Thiem Top Seed: Thiem is the top seed in Kitzbuhel for the third time in four years (except 2017). He has an 8-6 record on his home-soil tournament, reaching the final in 2014 (l. to Goffin) and the semi-finals in 2015. He has the most tour-level clay court wins (28) on the ATP World Tour this year.
3) Kohli Reigning Champion: No. 2 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber is the reigning champion. The German also won the title in 2015 and was a finalist in 2012. He has an 18-8 record in Kitzbuhel.
4) Verdasco Returns: No. 3 seed Fernando Verdasco is making his first Kitzbuhel appearance since 2013. The Madrid native has a 16-6 record at the event, reaching the final in 2005 (l. to Gaudio) and the semi-finals in 2004, 2006-07, falling each time to an Argentine opponent.
5) Dutch Treat: No. 4 seed Robin Haase is a two-time champion (2011-12) and was a semi-finalist in 2013. The Dutch No. 1, who has a 13-4 record in Kitzbuhel, is 1-3 in his past three appearances.
6) German Trio: Three of the top six Germans in the ATP Rankings are among the eight seeds, led by Kohlschreiber. The others are No. 6 seed Maximilian Marterer and No. 7 seed Jan-Lennard Struff, who reached the quarter-finals two years ago.
7) Wild Cards: The wild cards are French teenager Corentin Moutet along with Austrians Dennis Novak and Sebastian Ofner, who reached the semi-finals last year. The 19-year-old Moutet is making his tournament debut and Novak is competing for the fourth time at his home event.
8) Special Exempts: The two special exempts are Jozef Kovalik and Jurgen Zopp, both coming off semi-final performances this past week. Kovalik held a match point in his third-set tie-break loss to Leonardo Mayer in Hamburg while Zopp fell to eventual champion Matteo Berrettini in Gstaad.
9) Georgia Success: Nikoloz Basilashvili, who reached the Kitzbuhel final two years ago (l. to Lorenzi), became the first Georgian to win an ATP World Tour trophy on Sunday in Hamburg.
10) Doubles Reunion: Jurgen Melzer and Philipp Petzschner, wild cards, are playing together for the third time this season. The Austrian/German duo captured two Grand Slam titles (2010 Wimbledon, 2011 US Open). The top seeds are Julio Peralta and Horacio Zeballos, who have won titles in back-to-back weeks in Bastad and Hamburg. The No. 2 seeds are Max Mirnyi and Austrian native Philipp Oswald, who were victorious in New York and Houston earlier this year.
10 THINGS TO WATCH IN LOS CABOS
1) Tres Los Cabos: This is the third edition of the Abierto Mexicano de Tenis Mifel presentado por Cinemex with World No. 4 Del Potro making his tournament debut. Reigning champion Querrey and 2016 winner Ivo Karlovic are also in the field.
) Mexican Title Sweep: Del Potro is looking to win both ATP World Tour singles titles in Mexico this season. The Argentine star, who won the Acapulco title in March, enters with a 32-8 record this season (21-4 on hard). He also captured his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown in Indian Wells at the BNP Paribas Open.
3) Fabulous Fabio: No. 2 seed Fabio Fognini makes his Los Cabos debut after compiling a 21-10 record on clay. The top Italian has won two ATP World Tour titles in a season for the first time since 2013, capturing titles in Sao Paulo and Bastad. He will be ranked No. 15 on Monday, two spots off his career-best.
4) Damir on the Rise: No. 3 seed Damir Dzumhur, who reached the semi-finals in his Los Cabos debut last year, went on to win his first two ATP World Tour titles in St. Petersburg in September and Moscow in October. Last month he won his first grass-court title in Antalya.
5) Mannarino Eyes Title Breakthrough: No. 4 seed Adrian Mannarino has reached five ATP World Tour finals since 2015, including a championship match in Antalya last month. The Frenchman is looking to raise his first tour-level trophy. Last year, he reached the quarter-finals in Los Cabos.
6) Querrey Reigning Champion: No. 5 seed Querrey won his 10th ATP World Tour title in Los Cabos last year (d. Kokkinakis) after also triumphing in Acapulco. Querrey is trying to retain a title for the second time in his career. In 2009-10 he earned back-to-back trophies in Los Angeles.
7) Ryan Time: No. 6 seed Ryan Harrison is making his Los Cabos debut. The American is one of two players to reach the singles and doubles finals at the same tournament last week, getting set to compete for both titles in Atlanta Sunday evening. Matteo Berrettini triumphed in both disciplines in Gstaad.
8) 2016 Finalists Return: In the inaugural Los Cabos final two years ago, Ivo Karlovic defeated Feliciano Lopez. Karlovic (39) and Lopez (36) are the two oldest players in the singles draw and they will meet in the quarter-finals if both players win their first two matches.
9) Doubles Partners Meet: Last year’s finalist Thanasi Kokkinakis, a wild card entry, and 2017 quarter-finalist Taylor Fritz meet in the first round. They also team up for the first time in doubles. Kokkinakis beat then-World No. 1 Roger Federer in Miami. Fritz is No. 6 in the ATP Race to Milan standings.
10) Doubles Draw: There are six Mexican players in the doubles draw. The country’s highest-ranked player, Santiago Gonzalez (ATP Doubles Rankings No. 49), and Spaniard David Marrero are the top seeds. They are teaming up for the first time since 2017 Acapulco. They reached the final in Nice seven years ago in their team debut and also advanced to the 2017 Buenos Aires championship match.