Citi Open Play Kicks Off With Qualifying Rounds


World-class tennis returned to the Nation’s Capital today at the Citi Open with men’s and women’s qualifying rounds at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center. Attendees watched on the edge of their seats as 16 men’s singles players, four men’s doubles teams, and 16 women’s singles players from around the world vied for the chance to compete in the tournament’s main draw.

 Australia’s Marinko Matosevic kicked off Stadium Court play, defeating Scott Lipsky from the United States, 6-1, 6-0. Matthew Barton from Australia beat out wild card challenger Nikita-Girey Demir from the United States, 6-0, 6-1. Americans Eric Butorac and Alex Kuznetsov faced off today, with Kuznetsov emerging victorious after two sets, 6-2, 6-2. After playing three hard-fought sets lasting two hours, Colombian Alejandro Falla defeated American Mackenzie McDonald, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(4).

 Other winners from the men’s singles qualifying rounds included Ernesto Escobedo, Alexander Sarkissian, James Duckworth, and Amir Weintraub.

 Two of the five American women competing today are advancing on to the next round with Sanaz Marand beating out Russia’s Ksenia Lykina, 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-3, and Lauren Albanese defeating Japan’s Miyu Kato, 6-4, 6-2. Shuko Aoyama from Japan won in three hard-fought sets against wild card challenger Raveena Kingsley from the United States, 6-3, 2-6, 6-0. China’s Lin Zhu closed out women’s singles with a victory over American Jennifer Elie, 6-2, 2-6, 6-1. In an upset, wild card challenger Varvara Flink from Russia defeated China’s Zhaoxuan Yang, 7-6(0), 6-0.  

 Other winners from the women’s singles qualifying rounds included Hiroko Kuwata, Shilin Xu, and Alla Kudryavtseva.

 In the world of men’s doubles, Americans Ryan Harrison and Dennis Novikov defeated Ken and Neal Skupski, brothers from Great Britain, 6-3, 1-6, 11-9. The American team of Brian Baker and Austin Krajicek won in straight sets against Dominican Victor Estrella Burgos and American Mackenzie McDonald, 6-4, 6-1.

 The Citi Open was excited to have Joe Clair from WPGC as a guest announcer today. He also emceed the annual Mascot Challenge where, for the second year in a row, Leaf from the DC Department of Parks and Recreation was declared the winner by popular demand. Other participants in the Mascot Challenge included the Geico Gecko, DC United’s Talon, George from The George Washington University, Jack the Bulldog from Georgetown University, Bethesda Big Train’s Homer, Washington Kastles’ Topspin, and Raptor from Montgomery College.

 The Mascot Challenge wasn’t the only collection of furry friends on the tournament grounds, as Citi Open was pleased to welcome Pet Connect, continuing Citi Open’s commitment to the community by connecting patrons with pets available for adoption. Pet Connect is a nonprofit organization that rescues and fosters dogs and cats from high-risk shelters until they can place them in loving, permanent homes.

 Last, but certainly not least, Citi Open was honored to have At-Large DC Councilmember David Grosso, Chairman of the Council’s Committee On Education, attend the tournament with his family today to provide official greetings on behalf of the city of Washington, DC. As part of the Citi Open’s continued commitment to the District, a different ward of the city will be highlighted at various tournament sessions, DC elected officials will provide official on-court greeting,s and DC businesses will be featured throughout the week.

 For up-to-the minute highlights and scores, check out the Tournament’s website at

Qualifying play continues tomorrow at 10 a.m., with gates opening at 9 a.m. Tomorrow is the first-ever amateur Swift Tennis Tournament hosted by Tennis Central. Men and women ages 16-75 are welcome to participate in the tournament and competition is sure to be fierce! We hope to see you on the grounds tomorrow!