Storms wreak havoc on Citi . opening schedule


Washington never did her best in August, and yet this is the perennial spot on the ATP calendar for the City Open. This ensures that players must battle not only the opponent over the net but also the stifling heat, sweltering humidity, and disruption due to thunderstorms in late summer.

On a second straight afternoon of rain, the rain caused havoc with the already backlogged tournament schedule and annoying ticket holders, as they closed off the grassy space north of the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center that doubles as a parking lot because it was too watery for cars.

Until Thunder and Lightning stopped playing at 4:32 p.m., just over four hours of matches were contested. At the time, the men’s and women’s quarter-final venues were set as the number of seeded players declined, including American Riley Opelka and Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.

Once play resumed in the evening, the ladies’ event had the two remaining top rankings: US Open champion Emma Raducano, 19, seeded No. 2, who fell in straight sets to Russia’s Lyudmila Samsonova; And seed No. 4 Victoria Azarenka, who plunged in straight sets to Xiyu Wang of China.

The nearly three-hour shutdown prompted players’ preparations and prompted tournament officials to explore alternative ways to schedule events to crown the men’s and women’s winners on Sunday as scheduled.

In the end, Friday’s storm continued, allowing matches to resume around 7:30 p.m. and the tournament back on track for the most part.

At Citi Open, grind and live in the summer heat of the capital

It was already past 1 am when the men’s semi-finals were finally scheduled. Top-ranked Andrey Rublev will face Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in one of the semi-finals on Saturday night, while Nick Kyrgios will face Sweden’s Mikael Ymir in the other match.

However, half a dozen players had to compete twice on Friday to finish the buildup – first to complete third-round matches that were interrupted by rain from Thursday and again to run into the quarter-finals.

Rublev, who spent the long lull between his two matches on Friday lunching, showering and napping, said he felt lucky not to spend much time on the court, winning each in straight sets.

“It’s part of the sport,” Rublev said. “I think that’s the fun thing about it: you don’t know what to expect. Suddenly you’re going to have two games in one day. Then… you get late and you get late and you start really late, and it’s like you can’t adapt.”

Kyrgios, the 2019 Citi Open champion, was already scheduled to play three times on Friday. First, Kyrgios had to finish his third-round match against fourth seed Opelka. Having won it, he returned to the field court around 10:30 p.m. for a quarter-final match against Hyatsville native Francis Tiafoe, who earlier in the day had cleared a rain-stopped game from Wednesday and knocked out eighth seed Botic Van Die Zandschulp. .

It was 12:58 AM Kyrgios finally defeats Tiafutops five match points in the epic second-set tiebreak to advance 6-7 (7-5), 7-6 (14-12), 6-2.

There simply weren’t enough hours in the day for Kyrgios to meet his third commitment, the doubles match with Jack Sock that was billed as Friday night. It will be held on Saturday.

For some Citi Open players, Washington’s hotness and trouble proved too big.

in late Time of night Twitter shareAmerican Taylor Fritz explained why he retired from the third-round match in the heat on Wednesday while trailing Britain’s Dan Evans 1-4 in the third set, citing a previously undisclosed foot injury he said had limited his training since Wimbledon.

“I usually pride myself on my fitness and ability to compete in extremely hot/humid and harsh conditions like today,” Fritz wrote. “… Today I constantly felt like I was going to pass out, my vision was blurry, and the only thing that could really prepare me to play in these conditions… was to play in these conditions, something I couldn’t do while feeding my feet.”

Other players said City’s Washington Open trials make them stronger – even in the event of defeat. That was the view of Opelka, 24, after losing in the third round to Kyrgios.

The 6-foot-11 Opelka, who boasts the largest serve in men’s tennis, faced the unenviable task Friday of reclaiming 6-7 (7-1), 1-2 against Kyrgios, whose powerful serve is frightening. .

After a night of falling asleep on their unfinished business, Opelka and Kyrgios walked to the ballpark around 2:30pm, the first point didn’t go Opelka’s way, and suddenly he liked 40 on his serve. Kyrgios broke and didn’t look back, needing just 14 minutes to close the break-in actions, 7-6 (7-1), 6-2, and finished with 12 aces to Opelka’s 13.

However, Opelka described his two matches at this year’s Citi Open as a valuable experience.

“I haven’t played much [hard-court] matches,” Opelka said, “so it’s a starting point for the hard court season. It is a crucial step. Humidity, climate, heat – it’s all a great preparation for the US Open because that’s what’s happening in New York.”

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Of the top 10 players, only two made it to the quarterfinals: top seed Andrei Rublev, who ousted American Maxime Cressi 6-4, 7-6 (10-8), and 10th seed Tiafoe.

Among the seeded women who joined Opelka in Friday’s defeat was Dimitrov, who lost to American Sebastian Korda 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. eighth seed Van de Zandschul, who fell to Tiafoe 4-6, 6-2, 6-3; And Denmark’s ninth seed Holger Ron, fired by former Big Ten player of the year JJ Wolfe who collected 35-2 as a freshman at Ohio State, in the biggest upset of the day. Wolf, in turn, was ousted by Rublev in the quarter-finals once play resumed in the evening.

Tiafoe and Van de Zandschulp twice tried to finish their third-round match on Thursday before rain halted play for the night in one set each.

“Yesterday was tougher than today,” Van de Zandschulp said after losing on Friday. “You go in and out of court; I’m not sure after the second [delay] If you are going to end the match. You have to take care of what you eat between the lags to maintain enough energy and be ready to go to the playground at any moment. It’s very tough, matches like this.”