By: Ben Raby (www.twitter.com/benraby31)
The draws for the men’s and women’s singles tournaments were released at a lunchtime ceremony Friday inside Market Square.
On the men’s side, No.1 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas is one of three Top-10 players in the field, along with No.2 seed Karen Khachanov and No.3 seed Daniil Medvedev. All 16 men’s seeds have first-round byes, including top-American John Isner (No.5 seed), 2014 Citi Open champion Milos Raonic (No.8) and Washington area native Frances Tiafoe (No.16).
Tsitsipas will face either Denis Kudla or Tommy Paul in the second round. Kudla (Arlington, Va.) is making his sixth appearance in his hometown tournament and reached the quarterfinals last summer. Paul was granted a wild card into the main draw.
Should the top seeds prevail, Tsitsipas and Isner could meet in the quarterfinals next Friday. Isner is still seeking an elusive Citi Open title, despite reaching the finals on three separate occasions (2007, 2013, 2015). This marks Isner’s 11th career Citi Open appearance.
Other potential quarterfinal matches should the top seeds advance: Khachanov vs. Raonic; Medvedev vs. No.6 Marin Cilic; No.4 Kevin Anderson vs. No.7 David Goffin.
Other intriguing first-round matches in the men’s draw include an all-American showdown between Reilly Opelka and wild card Christopher Eubanks and an all-French matchup between veteran Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and NextGen ATP star Ugo Humbert.
The winner of the Opelka-Eubanks will face No.9 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second round. The 18-year-old Auger-Aliassime (World No.23) is the youngest player ranked inside the Top-25 since Lleyton Hewitt in 1999. Auger-Aliassime appears on the cusp of earning his first career ATP title, having already reached three finals in 2019 (Rio, Lyon, Stuttgart).
No.12 seed Alex de Minaur reached the final of last year’s Citi Open and will face either Andrey Rublev or Bernard Tomic in Round 2 next week.
De Minaur and Rublev aren’t thinking about Washington just yet, though, as both will be competing in the semifinals Saturday in Atlanta (de Minaur) and Hamburg (Rublev). But should they meet in the second round next week, it would be a rematch of last year’s epic Citi Open semifinal which ranked among the ATP’s matches of the year.
On the women’s side, the 32-player field does not include any first-round byes, which means the top seeds get to work early. That includes No.1 seed and 2015 Citi Open champion Sloane Stephens, who will open her 2019 account against Rebecca Peterson of Sweden.
No.2 seed Madison Keys will face 17-year-old wild card Hailey Baptiste in one of the more intriguing first-round matches in the women’s bracket. Baptiste, who hails from D.C. and trains at The JTCC in College Park, will be making her first appearance in her hometown tournament.
Another all-American first-round match features No.4 Sofia Kenin against Jennifer Brady. Kenin, 20, recently reached the Round of 16 at the French Open, where she upset Serena Williams in the third round.
Canadian Genie Bouchard, who is making her sixth appearance at the Citi Open, will face American Lauren Davis in the first round.