Highlights from the Tour
DC's Own Frances Tiafoe Reaches Quarterfinals at Queen's Club for the Second Time
Defending Citi Open Champ Jessica Pegula Advances to Quarters in Berlin
DC native Frances Tiafoe continued his momentum on grass at Queens Club last week. (Paul Harding/Getty Images)
With Wimbledon less than two weeks away, Citi Open’s top stars and DC’s brightest hopefuls are tuning up their games for the Championships at the All England Club, which begin on June 28.
After capturing his maiden grass-court title in Nottingham earlier this month, College Park native and Washington Kastles all-star Frances Tiafoe continued his momentum on the turf at Queens Club in London. The American beat Slovenian Aljaž Bedene, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, and 2010 Serbian Davis Cup champion Viktor Troicki, 6-3, 7-6(3), to advance to the quarterfinals of the cinch Championships for the second time. In 2018, he also reached the quarterfinals and weeks later advanced to the third round at the All England Club, his career-best showing to date.
“I’ve always really liked playing on grass,” said Tiafoe. “It suits my game. I have a really flat backhand and I’m a guy who really loves to play with intangibles. I’m just really enjoying myself right now. I’m trying to enjoy the game and just have fun with it and not take it so seriously and putting too much pressure on myself. It’s been working out pretty well.”
In the quarterfinals, Tiafoe fell to Candian world No. 14 Denis Shapovalov, 6-3, 6-4, in a competitive match that was suspended overnight. The 22-year-old Canadian ousted defending champion Feliciano Lopez, 6-2, 6-3, to set up the encounter, which was Tiafoe’s second quarterfinal appearance this season. The 23-year-old DC star also reached the final-eight at the Delray Beach Open, where he won his maiden ATP title in 2018.
Elsewhere at Queen’s Club, Washington Kastles alum Bruno Soares and Citi Open star Jamie Murray lost in the first round to Russian rising star Aslan Karatsev and Max Purcell, 6-4, 6-4. Current world No. 2 and 2019 Citi Open finalist Daniil Medvedev and 2016 Citi Open champion Gael Monfils also came up short in the first round in Halle, while 2015 Citi Open champ Kei Nishikori beat qualifier Ricardas Berankis, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2, in his opener, before falling to rising American star Sebastian Korda, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5, in the second round.
On the women’s side, defending Citi Open champion Jessica Pegula is also looking good on the road to Wimbledon. The 27-year-old American and daughter of Buffalo Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula began the season ranked No. 62 in the world, but a string of consistent results (including six top-10 wins) have propelled her to a career-high No. 26 ranking. And in Berlin this past week, she showed a glimpse of her potential on grass at the Bett1Open.
After easing past DC’s own JTCC alum Hailey Baptiste, who was forced to retire at 6-6 in the first set of her opening match, Pegula upset No. 4 seed and world No. 10 Karolina Pliskova, of the Czech Republic, 7-5, 6-2, to advance to the quarterfinals. There, the Citi Open champ met former world No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka, whom she upset in straight sets in the first round of the Australian Open this year. But in Berlin, Azarenka took the American more seriously, prevailing in a tight three-setter, 6-2, 5-7, 6-4, to even their career head-to-head at 1-1.
In Birmingham, meanwhile, Kastles alum Marta Kostyuk, of Ukraine, beat Dover, Delaware native and former Kastles star Madison Brengle in an exciting, all-Kastles alum opener, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, but was stopped by compatriot and No. 4 seed Daria Kasatkina, 6-2, 7-5, in the second round.