2019 Preview: Citi Open

June 24, 2019 11:18 AM

Where: Rock Creek Park Tennis Center, Washington, D.C.
When: July 27-Aug. 4
Defending champions: Alexander Zverev and Svetlana Kuznetsova (singles); Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares and Han Xinyun/Darija Jurak (doubles)
Tournament website: www.citiopentennis.com


The Citi Open will return to the US Open Series this summer for the first time since 2014 following a new deal to keep the tournament in Washington, D.C. It will serve as the second Series stop on the men's calendar and one of two women's tournaments for Week 2.

The Citi Open, which is home to the only ATP 500 tournament in the U.S. and one of only 13 around the world, is one of only five events in the U.S. featuring players from both the ATP and WTA Tours competing simultaneously at the same tournament site.

The tournament was first held as a men’s event in 1969 and played on clay courts until 1986, when it became a hard-court competition. It became a combined men’s and women’s event in 2011 (the women’s tournament was played at College Park, Md.) before the two competitions were merged to one site the following year. 

Andre Agassi has won the tournament a record five times, with Magdalena Rybarikova winning a record two women’s titles. 

2018 Recap

Defending champion Zverev retained his title with a 6-2, 6-4 victory in the final over young Aussie Alex de Minaur to become the first repeat men’s champion in D.C. since Juan Martin del Potro in 2008-09.

A year after defeating Kevin Anderson for his first title, Zverev came through a tough draw that included a second-round match against Malek Jaziri and a third-round encounter with older brother Mischa. Zverev rallied to beat former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinals before beating US Open Series Breakout Star Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semis. 

Elsewhere in the men’s draw, young American Noah Rubin upset big-serving No. 2 seed John Isner in the second round, Andy Murray had an emotional third-round win over Marius Copil that stretched until 3 a.m., and Donald Young came through qualifying to beat three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka in the opening round. 

In the women’s draw, Kuznetsova dropped just 14 games en route to the final, where she came up against Donna Vekic, who had played a number of tight matches, including a third-round win over Magda Linette. Linette had advanced with a victory over Naomi Osaka.

Vekic started the strongest, but Kuznetsova’s easier path to the championship proved decisive, as she held on for a 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 triumph.

In a number of early-round upsets, No. 2 seed Sloane Stephens fell to Andrea Petkovic, No. 4 seed Ekaterina Makarova lost to Ana Bogdan, and No. 5 seed Aleksandra Krunic lost to Katie Boulter. 

2019 Preview

The initial player list includes four Top-10 players, including 2018 semifinalist and world No. 6 Tsitsipas, No. 8 Karen Khachanov and No. 9 Daniil Medvedev in the men’s draw and 2017 US Open champion and current world No. 8 Sloane Stephens in the women’s field.

Stephens is the only player to have played in the Citi Open every year since it expanded to include a women’s draw in 2011, with 2019 marking her ninth appearance in as many years. The tournament also holds a special place in her heart, as it was here in 2015 that she won the first of her six career titles.

Also committed to playing is College Park native Frances Tiafoe, electric Aussie Nick Krygios, American No. 1 John Isner and rising stars in Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime and American Coco Gauff, the latter of which successfully navigated qualifying after her stunning Wimlbedon run.

Fun Fact

After 50 years, the Citi Open is the longest-running pro tennis event held at the same site in the United States.