By: Ben Raby (www.twitter.com/benraby31)
After an exciting weekend of qualifying, the Citi Open begins in earnest Monday with the first day of main draw play. An All-American matchup kicks things off at 2:00 p.m. on Stadium Court as Denis Kudla of Arlington, Va. takes on wild card Tommy Paul. This will be their first meeting on the ATP World Tour.
Kudla is a product of the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park and will be making his sixth career appearance at his hometown tournament. Kudla had his best showing at the Citi Open last year when he advanced to the quarterfinals. No.1 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas awaits the winner of the Kudla-Paul match in Round 2.
Stadium Court will also have a distinct Canadian flavor (or should we say flavour?!) on Monday. The second match on the main show court will feature Canadian qualifier Brayden Schnur against Tour veteran Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, while the final match of the night on Stadium Court will see Canadian Genie Bouchard take on American Lauren Davis.
Sandwiched between those matches will be a doubles contest that should garner plenty of attention. Scheduled to take the court at 7:00 p.m., Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios will be partnering for the first time in doubles competition as they have the unenviable task of going up against the No.1 ranked tandem of Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.
While Tsitsipas and Kyrgios are teaming up for the first time, Cabal and Farah have been playing together since they were juniors in Columbia. Cabal and Farah arrive in Washington having won 10 consecutive matches, including the Wimbledon final.
Coco Gauff’s much anticipated main draw singles debut will have to wait until Tuesday, but Gauff will still be taking to the court on Monday. Gauff and Catherine McNally were granted a wild card into the women’s double draw, which offers a reunion for the 2018 U.S. Open Girls’ Doubles champions.
“I’m super excited to play with her at the professional level,” Gauff said. “I’ve known her for a long time. I’m excited. We’re a great pair together on the court. This will be our first match on the professional level, so I’m excited to see how we do and I think that we’re going to do well. We’re both
Gauff and McNally will be facing another All-American team of Hayley Carter and Maegan Manasse. They will be playing in the third scheduled on the Grandstand court, which likely means a late-afternoon or early-evening start.
Another All-American singles match will follow on the Grandstand with No.3 seed Sofia Kenin making her Citi Open debut with a first-round match against Jennifer Brady.
Among Kenin’s biggest wins this year was a straight-sets triumph over Serena Williams at the French Open, en route to a berth in the Round of 16.
American Donald Young will also be making his ninth career Citi Open appearance after successfully qualifying over the weekend. The 30-year-old has not won an ATP main draw match since last year’s Citi Open when he stunned Stan Wawrinka in a three-set marathon. Young will look to recapture that magic Monday night when he meets Hubert Hurkacz of Poland in the fifth and final match of the day on Court 4.