ATP Washington D.C. draw preview and matches to watch: Defending champion Alexander Zverev returns; Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka unseeded and dangerous

Andrew Hendrie in ATP 28 Jul 2018
  • Alexander Zverev, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Nick Kyrgios, Kei Nishikori and more headline the 2018 Citi Open
  • We break down the draw and predict who will make the semi-finals and beyond
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Washington D.C. at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)
Alexander Zverev

Seven of the world’s top 20 - led by defending champion Alexander Zverev - are joined by the unseeded Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka in a star-studded Citi Open draw in Washington D.C. this week.

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Former World No. 1 Andy Murray launches is first U.S. Open Series since 2016 at the Citi Open as he plays his first hardcourt tournament since the 2017 Indian Wells Masters, while the likes of Stan Wawrinka, Alexander Zverev, John Isner, Nick Kyrgios and Kei Nishikori will also be the star attractions as the first big men’s tournament of the 2018 U.S. Open Series gets underway in the American capital.


Established seeded stars, unranked champions coming back from surgeries and a nice mix of veterans and rising stars - the 2018 Citi Open promises to be an unmissable tournament on the road to the U.S. Open - read on below as we break down the draw and make some questionable predictions!

First quarter

Projected quarter-final: Alexander Zverev (1) vs Kei Nishikori (7) - H2H level at 1-1

Former Citi Open champions Zverev and Nishikori will compete for the first time since Wimbledon as they look to kick off their respective U.S. Open Series successfully. Zverev, who beat Kevin Anderson in last year’s Washington D.C. final, suffered yet another disappointing Grand Slam exit as he went down to Ernests Gulbis in the third round of Wimbledon - can the young German respond and go back-to-back in Washington? He will begin his title defence against either Evgeny Donskoy or Malek Jaziri and could face his elder brother Mischa in the third round.

Nishikori certainly has the tougher path to the quarter-finals. The seventh seed might meet three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka in the second round, and if he passes that test, Canadian teen sensation Denis Shapovalov in his seeded third round rival. I think Zverev has a relatively smooth path to the last eight, but Nishikori will have his work cut out for him. Shapovalov came to life around this time last year and he might be primed for some more big wins this week.

Predicted semi-finalist: Zverev

Second quarter

Projected quarter-final: David Goffin (3) vs Nick Kyrgios (5) - Kyrgios leads H2H 3-0

Coming off a first round Wimbledon exit, Goffin has a decent draw - when you factor in the many top players present in Washington D.C. this week - to make the semi-finals. The Belgian, who has so far been unable to produce the sort of tennis he did last season, will start his campaign against one of Pierre-Hugues Herbert or a qualifier, while 13th seed France Tiafoe is a possible third round opponent.

On the other side of the quarter, question marks once again surround the fitness of Kyrgios, who retired with a hip problem in the quarter-finals of Atlanta last week. The Australian will take on either countryman James Duckworth or a qualifier in his first match and is seeded to clash with rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round. It’s a great chance for someone other than the top two seeds in this quarter to make the semi-finals - and I think Tiafoe or Tsitsipas could do it. I’ll back the American at home.

Predicted semi-finalist: Tiafoe

Third quarter

Projected quarter-final: Kyle Edmund (4) vs Hyeon Chung (8) - Edmund leads H2H 2-1

For the third tournament in a row, Kyle Edmund is on track to face Andy Murray in the first or second round. They didn’t end up squaring off at Queen’s, but they did play in Nottingham as Edmund claimed his first win over the former World No. 1. Of course all eyes will be on Murray as he plays his first hardcourt match in almost 18 months against improving American Mackenzie McDonald in his opening round - and if the Scot wins, he will meet Edmund.

Murray should be closer to match fitness than he was on grass and has been training in the American capital for the last week - so I can easily see him operating at a high level this week. Australian Open semi-finalist Chung tops this quarter as he plays his second tournament since Madrid after bowing out of Atlanta in the quarter-finals. The South Koran opens against either Marcos Baghdatis or Benoit Paire and could face 11th seed Steve Johnson, former runner-up Vasek Pospisil or the rising Alex de Minaur in the third round. Who knows how Murray will perform, but if he can beat McDonald in his opener, I don’t mind his chances of making at least the semi-finals.

Predicted semi-finalist: Murray

Fourth quarter

Projected quarter-final: John Isner (2) vs Lucas Pouille (6) - Never played

This is a very open quarter, especially due to Isner playing in the Atlanta Open final at the time of writing, meaning he could opt to withdraw from Washington D.C. depending on how he pulls up - and keeping in mind he’s still not that far off that Wimbledon marathon with Kevin Anderson. If he does end up playing, Isner will face Noah Rubin or Mikhail Youzhny in his opener and could clash with young gun Andrey Rublev in the third round - although the Russian is still early on his comeback from injury.

Pouille has been very hit-or-miss this season and isn’t playing that well at the moment - the Frenchman will take on either Yuichi Sugita or a qualifier in his opener and is seeded to face No. 12 Karen Khachanov in the third round. It’s a big opportunity for Khachanov, but he will need to be weary of his own opener against home hope Denis Kudla or Nottingham runner-up Lukas Lacko. Not that I think about, Isner could very well continue his momentum into the semi-finals with this draw, but I’ll tentatively jump on Khachanov to make the final four.

Predicted semi-finalist: Khachanov

Semi-finals

Zverev def. Tiafoe
Murray def. Khachanov

Final

Zverev def. Murray

***

The 2018 Citi Open is live from Washington D.C. between July 30 and August 5.


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ATP Washington D.C. draw preview and matches to watch: Defending champion Alexander Zverev returns; Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka unseeded and dangerous

Seven of the world’s top 20 - led by defending champion Alexander Zverev - are joined by the unseeded Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka in a star-studded Citi Open draw in Washington D.C. this week.

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