ATP Tour: Citi Open Ro64 Preview

Tennis Player hits ball

Damien Kayat takes a look at selected Round of 64 matches from the ATP Tour's Citi Open taking place in Washington DC.

Jordan Thompson 14/10 | Jared Donaldson 11/20
Jordan Thompson’s year has been a weird combination of success and frustration. He seems to be stuck in that familiar twilight zone between being an arch-competitor on the lower rungs and a slightly soft touch on the tour proper. He has been exceptionally consistent on the Challenger Tour. He won the event in Chennai before reaching the final in Kyoto and semi-final in Yokohama.  He also reached semi-finals in Anning and Nanchang before losing yet another final in Seoul. And he is in form after reaching another Challenger final in Binghamton last week. But he seems to be unable to utilize that momentum to progress further in these bigger events. His game reminds me of a slightly diet Mannarino and he needs to work on maximizing his power on both wings.

Jared Donaldson is a member of the vanguard of young American players who are looking to replace the likes of Querrey in the coming years. Donaldson has had a slightly disappointing year, highlighted by a frankly shocking clay-court season. He only won two matches out of six tournaments entered between Monte Carlo and the French Open. That didn’t really improve with the arrival of the grass-court campaign. But he will be returning to far more familiar climes on the hardcourts. His best result this year was a semi-final run at the Mexican Open- which is now played on a hardcourt. He also reached the quarter-finals In Delray and had a decent run to the final 32 of the ultra-competitive Miami Open.

Donaldson leads the head-to-head between the two 1-0, with a victory already over the Australian in Brisbane earlier this year. Donaldson is far more adept on the American hard-courts and his price of 11/20 looks a steal to me. Thompson’s lack of raw power should be exposed by the more explosive American. 

Marcos Baghdatis 13/20 | Benoit Paire 23/20
The living, breathing embodiment of the journeyman pro, Marcos Baghdatis has been loath to pack up his racquets and give up on a career that is clearly in freefall. The 2006 Aussie Open finalist and Wimbledon semi-finalist lost seven of his 15 opening round matches on the ATP Tour last year. He has had some slightly more encouraging results this year, including a fairly remarkable run to the final 16 in Indian Wells. He then went on to lose six consecutive opening matches after the Hungarian Open. He managed to beat Francois Tiafoe last week on course for a decent quarter-final run in Atlanta, so perhaps the American hardcourts will suit his particular skillset. 11 of his 14 career ATP finals have been on hardcourts and he did reach the Washington final in 2010.

Benoit Paire is in many ways quite similar to the mercurial Baghdatis. He is flashy and unpredictable, willing to mix up his game with wild drop-shots and thunderous groundstrokes. But it also tends to make him quite inconsistent. He recently reached the final 32 of Wimbledon before losing his next two opening round matches. He reached the round of 16 in Rome and Round of 32 in Miami. He also managed a semi-final in Sydney and the quarter-finals in Open Sud de France. Paire has overcome many concerns and also reached multiple ATP Tour semi-finals last season. He reached his fifth ATP Tour final, losing in the Moselle Open to Peter Gojowczyk.

The two share a 2-2 career head-to-head record. Baghdatis actually won their last encounter in the 2016 US Open. Baghdatis leads the hardcourt head-to-head 2-1. But Baghdatis has certainly depreciated considerably over the last two years. Paire has battled for consistency but should still have too much for Baghdatis at this stage of their respective careers. 

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Written by Damien Kayat for

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