ATP Tour: Citi Open Selected Quarter-Finals Preview

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We take a look at two of the four quarter-finals taking place at the ATP's Citi Open taking place in Washington DC this week. 

Alex Zverev 6/10 | Kei Nishikori 5/4
Defending Champion and top seed Alex Zverev overcame another hurdle in the last round after easily disposing of Malek Zaziri in his opening match. He is currently experiencing a slight dip in his season precipitated by a poor grass-court campaign. A third round loss to Gulbis at Wimbledon highlighted how far he has to go on grass. But with victories in Germany and Madrid coupled with a Miami Final, Zverev has certainly shown his ability to dominate the events outside of the Slams. It seems as if the rigours of Grand Slam tennis still weigh heavily on his slight physique. Zverev has shown a huge affinity for the American hardcourts, as evidenced by that victory in Washington last season. It looks as if it will take something special to usurp the German this year.

Kei Nishikori has really done well since returning from a serious wrist injury earlier this year. He was careful on return, picking up a victory in a Challenger event in Dallas. He reached the semis in New York shortly after, underlining his love of the American hardcourts. He over-performed by reaching the final in Monte Carlo and was brilliant at Wimbledon. He lost to eventual Champion Novak Djokovic after an excellent four-set quarterfinal. Nishikori has beaten Donald Young and Denis Shapovalov and simply loves it in Washington. He won his last outdoor event here in 2015. He has lost his last seven ATP Finals and will be hoping to go one better this year. The former US Open finalist is one of the best players on this surface and he seems to be rejuvenated after that significant injury hiatus.

The head-to-head between the two reads 1-1. While Nishikori won their only encounter this year in Monte Carlo, Zverev managed to cruise straight-sets victory in last year’s Washington semi-final. This is actually quite a complex one to call. I just have the feeling that the Japanese player is on the crest of a wave. Few would have seen him performing as well at Wimbledon and this could be another Washington final. 

Stefanos Tsitsipas 27/20 | David Goffin 11/20
David Goffin really is the Duracell Bunny of the ATP Tour. His regular season consistency tends to mask the fact that he generally underperforms on the biggest stage; with the exception of last season’s ATP World Tour Finals. I was surprised at how effectively Goffin disposed of Tiafoe in the last round, especially after struggling somewhat against Herbert. Goffin is yet to reach a final this year but does boast 3 semi-finals to his name. The highlight of his season thus far was perhaps that semi-final in Barcelona. The 27-year-old Belgian still only boasts two Grand Slam quarterfinals, though significantly one of those came on the hardcourts of Australia last year.

Greek Tsitsipas has been one of the breakthrough performers on the ATP Tour this year. A former Junior World Number 1, Tsitsipas started the year fairly poorly, with only a quarterfinal in Dubai of any consequence. But he came into life as soon as the clay-court season began. He reached the final in Barcelona before backing that up with a semi-final in Estoril. The grass-court season was certainly not as productive for Tsitsipas, but a run to the final 16 at Wimbledon seemed to highlight the fact that he is beginning to figure out his game on multiple surfaces. Solid victories thus far over Jared Donaldson and James Duckworth seem to add further weight to that transition.

We have another stalemate, with the head-to-head stats once again reading 1-1. Goffin won their last meeting on the clay courts of Monaco earlier this year. However, Tsitsipas beat Goffin earlier this year on the hardcourts of Antwerp. That victory in front of Goffin’s home support leads me to believe that 27/20 seems a decent bet for the Greek youngster. 

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Written by Damien Kayat for

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