30 Things To Watch In Washington, Kitzbuhel & Los Cabos
For the second straight week, ATP 500 action headlines another busy week on the ATP Tour. Top 10 stars Stefanos Tsitsipas, Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev all feature at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., World No. 4 Dominic Thiem looks to finish his 2019 clay-court campaign with success at the Generali Open in Kitzbuhel and defending champion Fabio Fognini leads the way at the Abierto de Tenis Mifel presentado por Cinemex in Los Cabos.
Two-time Citi Open semi-finalist Marin Cilic is already enjoying his time in the American capital, after joining a group of players on a sightseeing bus tour of the city. The former World No. 3 returns to the ATP 500 event, where he owns a 6-3 record, for the first time since 2015.
"It is always nice to get a little bit of free time to go and see what we can," said Cilic. "This bus tour, organised by the tournament, is the best place to see something that maybe I haven't seen in the past over here and in a different kind of way. [I am] enjoying the Washington Monument and everything that we have seen so far."
10 Things To Watch In Washington, D.C.
1) Citi Life: The U.S. hard court series moves to Washington, D.C. for the Citi Open. Three of the newest members of the ATP Rankings Top 10 — 20-year-old Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas and 23-year-old Russians Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev — are the top three seeds at the ATP 500 event. They are joined by former champion Milos Raonic and 2018 finalist Alex de Minaur.
2) Greece Lightning: Top seed Tsitsipas was ranked No. 32 coming into the Citi Open last year, where the Greek began an impressive run of form. The Greek raced to the semi-finals in D.C. before falling to eventual champion Alexander Zverev and then defeated four Top 10 players en route to the Rogers Cup final. That two-week span propelled him into the Top 15 of the ATP Rankings.
3) Rising Russian: Khachanov made his Top 10 debut on 10 June after reaching his first Grand Slam quarter-final at Roland Garros. He became the first Russian in the Top 10 since Mikhail Youzhny in 2011. Khachanov seeks his first Citi Open win; he lost to Denis Kudla in his 2018 opener.
4) Present Tens: Medvedev joined his compatriot Khachanov in the Top 10 after Wimbledon, marking the first time two Russians were ranked in the Top 10 simultaneously since Youzhny and Nikolay Davydenko in October 2010. Medvedev reached the Citi Open quarter-finals in 2017.
5) Former Champ: No. 8 seed Raonic is the only prior Citi Open champion in the draw this year. The former World No. 3 from Canada defeated his countryman Vasek Pospisil in the 2014 final for what is, to date, his sole title at ATP 500-level or higher. He has an 8-2 win-loss record in D.C.
6) Felix Flying: Another Canadian in the field is No. 9 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, the only player aged 18 or under currently in the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings. The #NextGenATP star has reached his first three ATP Tour singles finals this season, rocketing from outside the Top 100 at the start of the year to a career-high of No. 21 on 10 June. Auger-Aliassime celebrates his 19th birthday on 8 August.
7) One More Step: American No. 1 John Isner is two weeks removed from winning his first title of the year at the Hall of Fame Open in Newport. Isner had a career breakthrough in Washington in 2007, where earned five straight wins in final-set tiebreaks to reach his first tour-level singles final as a 416th-ranked wild card. He also reached the final in 2013 and 2015, but still seeks his first D.C. trophy.
8) Hard Court Hits: No. 4 seed Kevin Anderson had his own breakthrough at the 2017 Citi Open, making the final after a series of injuries had hindered him in the previous year. From there, the South African spurred himself on to an impressive 2017 hard court season, culminating in a first Grand Slam final at the 2017 US Open. He reached his second Grand Slam final last year at Wimbledon.
9) Hometown Heroes: No. 16 seed Frances Tiafoe, from Hyattsville, Md., and Denis Kudla, of Arlington, Va., are back at the Citi Open. Kudla was 0-4 in main-draw matches at the event before racing to the quarter-finals last year. Tiafoe got his first D.C. wins in 2018 to make the third round.
10) Double Up: Andy Murray will pair with his brother Jamie Murray as part of a stellar doubles field in D.C. Four-time Citi Open champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan and Roland Garros champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies are in the mix, while Wimbledon champions and World No. 1’s Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah face Nick Kyrgios and Tsitsipas in a blockbuster first round.
10 Things To Watch In Kitzbuhel
1) Clay Finale: Kitzbuhel, Austria hosts the last ATP Tour clay tournament of the season this week, with a draw boasting World No. 4 Dominic Thiem along with three former Top 10 players: Fernando Verdasco, Richard Gasquet, and Pablo Carreno Busta.
2) Former Champs Return: Three previous Kitzbuhel titlists return in 2019 — defending champion Martin Klizan, two-time winner Philipp Kohlschreiber (2015, ‘17) and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (2009) — aiming to reclaim the trophy. World No. 158 Garcia-Lopez enters as a qualifier this year.
3) The 200 Club: Albert Ramos-Vinolas enters Kitzbuhel on a hot streak, having won his second ATP Tour title on the clay courts in Gstaad on Sunday. The victory also marked his 200th career tour-level win.
4) Success Continues for Thiem: World No. 4 Dominic Thiem enters Kitzbuhel with two titles this year (Indian Wells, Barcelona) and a second appearance in the Roland Garros final to his name. His season has included wins against No. 1 Novak Djokovic, No. 2 Rafael Nadal, and No. 3 Roger Federer.
5) Veterans and Rookies: Sixteen years separate the youngest and oldest members of the draw, 20-year-old Jurij Rodionov of Austria and 36-year-old Garcia-Lopez.
6) Keeping it in the Family: Dominic Thiem's 19-year-old brother Moritz Thiem enters the Kitzbuhel doubles draw with 39-year-old Nicolas Massu of Chile as a wild card pairing. Massu, the former World No. 9 and two-time Olympic gold medalist, began working as Dominic's coach earlier this year.
7) Banner Summer: Joran Vliegen and Sander Gille arrive in Kitzbuhel after winning their second tour-level doubles trophy as a team in as many weeks. The Belgians won titles in Båstad (d. Delbonis/Zeballos) and Gstaad (d. Oswald/Polasek).
8) Splitting Forces: Defending doubles champions Roman Jebavy and Andres Molteni are back in the Kitzbuhel draw, but this time on different ends of the draw. Jebavy teams up with 2016 champion Matwe Middelkoop as the No. 3 seeds, while Molteni partners countryman Leonardo Mayer.
9) Doubles Champs: 2017 Kitzbuhel doubles champions Pablo Cuevas and Guillermo Duran join forces for their third ATP Tour event together. Cuevas owns nine doubles titles, with his last coming at 2017 Vienna (w/Bopanna).
10) Home Court Advantage: Five Austrians — Thiem, Rodionov, Dennis Novak, Lucas Miedler and Sebastian Ofner — feature in the singles main draw. The all-Austrian duo of Oliver Marach and Jurgen Melzer, who lifted the Hamburg European Open trophy last week, lead the pack as the top doubles seeds.
10 Things To Watch In Los Cabos
1) Take Four: The fourth edition of the Abierto de Tenis Mifel presentado por Cinemex will take place in Los Cabos this week, with top seed Fabio Fognini back to try to defend his title. Guido Pella, Diego Schwartzman, and Lucas Pouille, each of whom are making their tournament debuts, round out the top four seeds, while former finalist Thanasi Kokkinakis is also in the mix.
2) Fog Rolling In: Fognini made his debut at the event last year, and after dropping the first set of his opening match, raced through his next eight sets with ease to capture the title, including a 6-4 6-2 win against then-World No. 4 Juan Martin del Potro in the final. Fognini returns to Los Cabos as a Top 10 player and ATP Masters 1000 champion, having won the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters title.
3) Great Guido: Pella accepted a wild card into the tournament, and will contest his first event since his breakthrough run to his first Grand Slam quarter-final at Wimbledon. Pella’s performance in London continued a season of milestones, which has included his first ATP Tour singles title at the Brasil Open in his fifth career final, and a career-high ATP Ranking of No. 21 on 13 May.
4) Diego For It: Schwartzman seeks his first singles title since winning in Rio de Janeiro in February 2018. The Argentine has come close in doubles twice this year, reaching finals alongside Thiem in Madrid and Buenos Aires. Schwartzman and Pella are seeded No. 2 in the doubles draw.
5) French Twist: Pouille came into the 2019 Australian Open with an 0-5 record at that event, but won five straight matches in Melbourne to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final. The Frenchman lost five tour-level matches in a row following that tournament, but recovered form on the grass, reaching the Stuttgart quarter-finals and the third round of Wimbledon.
6) Wild One: Kokkinakis has received a wild card at Los Cabos for the third straight edition. The Australian made his sole ATP Tour singles final to date here in 2017 while ranked No. 454 in the ATP Rankings, but he lost in the first round last year to Taylor Fritz, an opponent he defeated during his 2017 run.
7) Fritz Flying: No. 5 seed Fritz reached the Los Cabos quarter-finals in 2017 and returns this year on a hot streak. The 21-year-old American won his first ATP Tour singles title in Eastbourne in June, made another final in Atlanta last week and hit a new career-high ATP Ranking of No. 28 on Monday.
8) Tip Top: Janko Tipsarevic, who reached a career-high World No. 8 in the ATP Rankings in 2012, makes his Los Cabos debut. The Serb missed all of 2018, but returned from hamstring surgeries in January, won his first tour-level match since the 2017 US Open in Miami and made his first ATP Tour quarter-final since 2016 in Houston.
9) Qualies Quarter: Soonwoo Kwon has qualified for his second ATP Tour main draw in the past two weeks. The 21-year-old made the second round in Atlanta last week and now has a new career-high ATP Ranking of No. 112. He is joined in the main draw by fellow qualifiers Dominik Koepfer, Maxime Janvier and Jason Jung.
10) Doubles Duty: Mexico’s Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela paired with Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador to capture a first ATP Tour doubles title in Los Cabos last year. They are back to try to defend their title, but will face stiff competition from the field, including top seeds Dominic Inglot and Austin Krajicek, who have already won two titles in 2019.