By: Ben Raby (www.twitter.com/benraby31)
Both the ATP and WTA draws have been revealed and the itinerary for this year’s Citi Open is starting to take shape.
While qualifying rounds will be completed over the weekend, main draw play begins Monday with several headliners and Grand Slam champions set to usher in a busy week of competition.
Making her Citi Open debut, seven-time Grand Slam champ Venus Williams will be among the featured players on Stadium Court on Monday night. Williams, 42, will face a qualifier in her first singles competition since last August.
The full schedule for Monday’s on-court activity will be released later this weekend.
PEGULA, RADUCANU HEADLINE WOMEN’S MAIN DRAW:
On the women’s side of the draw, 2019 Citi Open champion and American No. 1 Jessica Pegula is the top seed, while Raducanu anchors the bottom half of the draw as the No. 2 seed. Pegula, currently ranked a career-high No. 7 in the world, will face hometown favorite Hailey Baptiste in a must-see first-round showdown.
Baptiste, who grew up steps away from the Rock Creek Tennis Stadium, made her WTA debut at the Citi Open in 2019 and upset Madison Keys in the opening round to score her first Tour victory. The 20-year-old earned a main-draw wild card at this year’s tournament.
Pegula’s quarter also includes American tennis legend and seven-time Grand Slam singles champion Venus Williams, who will make her Citi Open debut against a qualifier in Monday night's featured match.
Raducanu, meanwhile, drew Marie Bouzkova as her first-round opponent. That match is expected to be played on Tuesday. Should the US Open champ advance, she could face American wild card Sofia Kenin in the second round in a potential meeting of major champions. Kenin, the 2020 Australian Open champ, faces Camila Osorio in the first round.
Citi Open veteran Sloane Stephens is also in Raducanu’s quarter and will face Ajla Tomljanovic in her opener. Stephens has perfect attendance at the Citi Open, having participated in all 10 editions of the tournament that have included a women’s field. The 2015 Citi Open and former US Open champ is 6-0 lifetime against Tomljanovic, who just made the Wimbledon quarterfinals and will be a tough opponent.
Other highlights in the women’s draw include the Citi Open return of former World No.1 and two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep. The No.3 seed in this year’s field will open against a qualifier. Should she advance, Halep would face either Washington Kastles alum Madison Brengle or Anna Kalinskaya in Round 2.
Click here for the complete men's and women's 2022 Citi Open draws
MURRAY, KYRGIOS AMONG FIRST-ROUND HEADLINERS IN MEN’S DRAW
On the men's side of the draw, the Top-16 seeds in the 48-player ATP field all received first-round byes. World No. 8 Andrey Rublev is the top seed and will either face Stefan Kozlov or Jack Draper in his first match of the tournament, while 2019 Citi Open champion Nick Kyrgios and former World No. 1 Andy Murray will headline a star-studded main-round opening on Monday and Tuesday.
Rublev’s quarter also includes No.6 Denis Shapovalov, No.9 Holger Rune and No.13 Maxime Cressy.
Cressy (left) arrives in Washington fresh off his first career ATP title (Newport). The American will face the winner of one of the more intriguing first-round matches as Wimbledon semifinalist and former World No. 7 David Goffin takes on American former World No. 8 Jack Sock. Sock memorably pushed tennis legend Rafael Nadal to a third-set tiebreak in the Spaniard's Citi Open debut last summer.
Cressy is one of five American seeds to receive a first-round bye. The others include American No. 1 and No. 3 seed Taylor Fritz, No. 4 seed Reilly Opelka,, who could face the DMV’s Denis Kudla in the second round, No. 10 seed Frances Tiafoe and No. 14 seed Tommy Paul. All will be vying to become the first American men’s singles champion in DC since Andy Roddick won the crown in 2007.
Opelka, Tiafoe, and Paul are all in the same quarter of the draw, along with No. 8 seed Botic van de Zandschulp. That quarter also includes a blockbuster first-round showdown between Kyrgios and American Marcos Giron, who cracked the world's Top-50 for the first time this May and represented the US at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Kyrgios will be competing in singles for the first time since reaching the finals at Wimbledon.
Fritz also impressed at Wimbledon, where he reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal, before falling to Nadal in a fifth-set marathon. The No. 1 American is in the same quarter as No. 7 seed Karen Khachanov, No. 11 seed Alex de Minaur, and No. 16 seed Daniel Evans. De Minaur, a Citi Open finalist in 2018, will either face rising American star Jenson Brooksby or Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan, in another compelling first-round match. Brooksby reached the semifinals as a last-minute wild card last summer.
Also in their quarter is former Brit No.1 Kyle Edmund, who is returning to ATP competition for the first time in nearly 19 months as he's dealt with a significant knee issue. Edmund will face a qualifier in his opening match.
The bottom quarter of the draw is headlined by No.2 Hubert Hurkacz, No.5 Grigor Dimitrov, No.12 Sebastian Baez and No.15 Aslan Karatsev.
The winner from Monday’s match between Andy Murray and Mikael Ymer would face Karatsev in Round 2, with a potential third-round date looming against Hurkacz.