By: Ben Raby (www.twitter.com/benraby31)
After tickets sold out Thursday at the Citi Open, fans won’t want to miss out on all the quarterfinal action Friday in both the ATP and WTA draws. A limited numbers tickets are available for Friday’s day and evening sessions.
On the men’s side No.1 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, No.3 Daniil Medvedev and fan-favorite Nick Kyrgios are among the headliners that will be vying for a berth in the D.C. semis.
The loaded men’s doubles field will also be prominently featured Friday with the Bryan brothers and the Murray brothers to be featured in back-to-back late-afternoon matches on the intimate John Harris Court.
In a wide-open women’s draw, Americans Catherine McNally, Lauren Davis and Jessica Pegula will be among those looking to reach the Final-4.
All four men’s singles quarterfinal matches will be played on Stadium Court beginning at 2 p.m. with No.13 seed Kyle Edmund taking on Peter Gojowczyk of Germany.
A day after earning his 100th career ATP win on Wednesday, Edmund dug deep in the 90-degree heat Thursday afternoon as he rallied past Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in 2 hours 22 minutes.
Gojowczyk reached his first quarterfinal of the year with a straight-sets win over 2014 Citi Open champion Milos Raonic.
A terrific matchup will follow the Edmund-Gojowczyk quarter when the third-seeded Medvedev meets No.6 seed Marin Cilic.
Medvedev is in the Washington quarters for the second time in three years after an economical straight set win over hometown favorite Frances Tiafoe.
The 23-year-old Russian showed off his all-around game against Tiafoe with nifty shot making, efficient serving – Medvedev won 84% of his first-service points – and outstanding retrieving.
Tiafoe later revealed that a minor foot injury he suffered on Tuesday was aggravated during his match against Medvedev. Medvedev, meanwhile, said afterwards that he feels great and is looking forward to playing into the weekend.
“It’s definitely already a good week,” he said. “I’m feeling healthy. I’m playing good. Of course, I want to back it up with some more wins and a great match to come [Friday]. Marin is in great shape and it’s going to also show what I’m capable of this summer in the U.S.”
Cilic reached the quarterfinals with a workmanlike 6-3, 6-4 win over rising Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Dazzling shot making could be a theme during the evening session on Stadium Court beginning at approximately 7 p.m. with the top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas taking on No.10 seed Benoit Paire of France.
Tsitsipas hasn’t dropped a set this week, but the 20-year-old Greek phenom has been tested. In his third-round match Thursday, Tsitsipas stepped up when it mattered most saving a set point in the second set and holding off Australian Jordan Thompson 6-3, 7-6(4).
“It’s very pleasing knowing that I can be mature and handle those situations very bravely, so I’m really happy with that,” said Tsitsipas. “I showed character out there. I played heroic tennis, I would say, in those crucial moments.”
Tsitsipas is now a win away from matching his Citi Open semifinal appearance of a year ago. With a win Friday, he would also crack the Top-5 in the world rankings for the first time in his career.
Paire is back in the Citi Open quarterfinals for the first time since 2016 after a straight-sets win over top American John Isner.
Fans who come out Friday night will want to stick around for the final match on Stadium Court as the always entertaining Nick Kyrgios takes on Norbert Gambos of Slovakia.
Kyrgios has been dialed in this week, reaching the quarters without dropping a set across three matches. When Kyrgios is engaged – as he has been throughout the week – few players can match his play as far as showmanship.
The healthy swagger and confidence have been there this week and both were on display Thursday as he beat Yoshihito Nishioka in a late-night D.C. battle between a pair of Washington Kastles stars.
“I'm feeling good,” he said. “I haven't played that many matches in the last couple weeks, so to come out here and being able to produce a level that I've brought three days in a row, pretty special, and hopefully I can just keep it going.
“The crowd is amazing,” Kyrgios said. “They hung around three days in a row when I've played the last match on each court. They're amazing. The atmosphere has been awesome, and obviously you see a lot of the people screaming out and they're just having a good time.”
Kyrgios’ next opponent, Norbert Gambos admits that is the unlikeliest of quarterfinalists.
Gambos lost a qualifying match over the weekend, but was given a lifeline when Kevin Anderson withdrew from the main draw. Gambos took his spot as a ‘Lucky Loser’ and the Slovak has made the most of the opportunity with a pair of early-round victories.
Gambos spoke candidly after reaching the quarterfinals and said he had even booked himself a flight back to Slovakia for Thursday thinking there was no way he’d still be playing. The 28-year-old has spent much of his career playing lower-tier Challenger tournaments, which is why he’s especially appreciative of the opportunity to play in primetime on Stadium Court Friday.
“I mean, finally I can feel the crowd,” he said. “I'm feeling like finally I'm a pro because on the Challengers Tour there is not such big stadiums, so finally I will be happy to play in such a great venue. So hopefully I will try my best and hopefully it will be good.”
Kyrgios is looking to advance to his first semifinal since winning the Acapulco title in February.
DOUBLES & WTA HIGHLIGHTS
Among the highlights in this year’s Reimagined Citi Open has been a loaded doubles field. Doubles will again be prominently featured Friday with four matches (two WTA and two ATP) on John Harris Court.
The first men’s match is scheduled for approximately 3:30 p.m. with Bob and Mike Bryan taking on Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau. The Bryan brothers are competing in Washington for the 15th time as a team and are seeking a fourth career Citi Open title.
Andy and Jamie Murray will also be vying for a berth in the doubles semis when they take on the third-seeded tandem of Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus. The Murray brothers are partnering this week for the first time since September 2016.
“To get the opportunity to come out and play tennis again together [is] really special,” Jamie said earlier this week. “Really excited to get another match… It’s a great showcase for doubles.”
The final doubles match of the night should also make for a great atmosphere as wild cards Coco Gauff and Catherine McNally face the third-seeded team of Miyu Kato and Anna Kalumskaya in a WTA semifinal.
Gauff and McNally, who are less than a year removed from winning the U.S. Open Girls’ Doubles crown last fall, were a last-minute addition to this year’s Citi Open doubles field, but the rising American teens are making the most of the opportunity with a pair of straight-sets wins.
“We have a pretty good track record,” Gauff said earlier this week.
McNally has a full itinerary Friday as the 17-year-old will also continue her improbable run in the singles draw. The WTA singles quarterfinals will take place on the Grandstand with McNally’s match against No.4 seed Su-Wei Hsieh surely to draw a crowd.
Hsieh is the only seed remaining in the wide-open women’s draw. Hsieh reached the quarters by defeating Russian qualifier Varvara Gracheva 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 in a marathon three-setter late Thursday night that took 2 hours 38 minutes to complete.
The other WTA quarterfinals Friday include an All-American showdown between Lauren Davis and Jessica Pegula at 2 p.m. on the Grandstand. That will be followed by Russian qualifier Anna Kalinskaya and three-time Citi Open quarterfinalist Kristina Mladenovic.
The final WTA match of the night will feature Italy’s Camila Giorgi against Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan.