By: Ben Raby
After rain wreaked havoc with Friday’s itinerary, clear skies are in the forecast Saturday with plenty of action in both the ATP and WTA draws.
First, the quarterfinals will conclude on the men’s side as Arlington, Virginia’s Denis Kudla takes on No.16 seed Andrey Rublev at 12 p.m. on Stadium Court. Kudla and Rublev took the court Friday to warmup before the skies opened and play was eventually suspended for the night.
The winner of the Kudla-Rublev quarterfinal match will have a swift turnaround with a semifinal match against 19-year-old Alex de Minaur Saturday night.
After losing in the first round in each of his first four appearances in the Citi Open main draw, Kudla finally got over the hump Tuesday with a first-round triumph over Lukas Lacko. The 25-year-old then beat No.12 seed Karen Khachanov in the second round Wednesday and No.6 Lucas Pouille in the third round Thursday.
Soon after his win over Pouille, Kudla acknowledged that it would be a dream scenario to play Sunday at the Citi Open.
“When I was younger I always dreamed of winning but I didn’t realize how tough it was going to be for me to perform here,” he said. “But I overcame that and now I’m where I was dreaming to be when I was 8-year-old coming here. So, I’m excited, I believe in myself and now we have three more, so let’s go.”
In addition to potentially playing two singles matches Saturday, Kudla is also scheduled to play men’s doubles with longtime friend Frances Tiafoe (Hyattsville, Maryland). Kudla and Tiafoe are set to face Ivan Dodig and Ben McLachlan in the quarterfinals on Grandstand 2 (not before 4 p.m.).
ZVEREV AND TSITSIPAS SET FOR FIRST ENCOUNTER:
The other men’s singles semifinal is scheduled for this afternoon as No.1 seed Alexander Zverev takes on No.10 Stefanos Tsitsipas (not before 2 p.m.) on Stadium Court.
Zverev, 21, is the defending Citi Open champion and improved to 14-2 lifetime in Washington with his quarterfinal triumph over No.7 seed Kei Nishikori on Friday.
While Zverev is seeking his ninth career ATP World Tour title, Tsitsipas, 19, is seeking his first. Tsitsipas saved two matches in his second-round win over American Jared Donaldson and followed it with straight-set wins over Australian James Duckworth and No.3 seed David Goffin.
BUSY DAY IN WTA DRAW:
Only one women’s quarterfinal match could be completed on Friday with Andrea Petkovic saving match point and rallying to beat No.6 seed Belinda Bencic in three sets on the John A. Harris Grandstand.
Petkovic will face either Svetlana Kuznetsova or No.8 seed Yulia Putintseva in the semifinals. First Kuznetsova and Putintseva must complete their quarterfinal match which was suspended due to rain Friday with Kuznetsova leading 6-2, 2-2.
The other two quarterfinal matches will also be completed early Saturday afternoon with American qualifier Allie Kiick taking on Saisai Zheng while No.7 seed Donna Vekick faces Magda Linette. The winners of those quarterfinal matches will meet tonight in the second women’s semifinal.
Needless to say, it will be a full day at the office for many on the court at an eventful Saturday at the Citi Open!
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