A day to remember in Washington ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜ญ๐ŸŒง๐ŸŽพ

Usually a man called Donald Trump takes the daily headlines in Washington but the tennis, the drama, the tears and the rain of the Citi Open made it a day to remember in the famous city.

Almost a wash out…ย 

Every year without fail it rains in Washington and tennis gods gave way around 10:30pm BST last night when play began which is 2:30pm in Washington however it did mean late starts and finishes of 3 am local time with some players including Andy Murray being very vocal about this and are considering not playing today.

Over time!

Noah Rubin, Andrey Rublev and Alex De Minaur all had a busy day in Washington and had to play twice which on anyone is tough especially for the youngsters. All three can be incredibly proud of what they achieved.

Noah Rubin took out John Isner in the first match 6-4 7-6 for the biggest win of his career. Andrey Rublev took out wildcard Paul 7-6 6-4 before setting up a meeting with Noah which he won 6-3 6-2.

Alex De Minaur on the other hand defeated Steve Johnson 6-4 7-5 in his first match of the day and was super impressive in his second match against Hyeon Chung winning 6-2 4-6 6-2 against the South Korean. Next up, a meeting with Andy Murray!

Brothers!

Highly anticipated match delivered!

Alex Zverev the top seed in Washington played his older brother Mischa Zverev for the first time on the tour and the two played some incredible rallies in a close encounter but it was Alex who came through 6-3 7-5 to secure his place into the quarter finals.

Sealed with a hug!

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Andy’s battle and tears!ย 

Another battle victory which is part of Andy Murray’s set up as a player but so close to his comeback and his first hard court tournament for around 17 months is absolutely incredible. Read more about his win below;

Andy Murray in tears after hard fought win at 3 am in Washington

Business as usual!

The day also saw wins for Kei Nishikori against Denis Shapovalov winning 7-6 6-3, David Goffin crushed Frances Tiafoe 6-0 6-3 and Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated James Duckworth 6-3 6-4.

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Citi Open Preview – Marin Cilic v Kei Nishikori

For the ninth time in their careers Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic will do battle on the ATP tour with Kei Nishikori leading the head to head 5-3 however it is Marin Cilic who won the important won defeating Kei in the US Open final 6-3 6-3 6-3 last year and this is their first meeting since the final in New York.

Getting to semi-finals is what you would expect from the two however I wouldnโ€™t say they have performed to a level this week or recently on the tour where I would say they can challenge for this big titles over the next month or so. In all honesty at the end of last season the talk was about the upcoming talents of Cilic, Nishikori, Raonic and Dimitrov and it hasnโ€™t really happened as none of these players in my opinion have improved over the last 9 months.

I expect it to be a very interesting match. Cilic is obviously a threat via his serve and Nishikori has to find a way to impose himself on the Cilic service game like he did against Sam Groth in the previous round however he wonโ€™t get as many cheap points as he did against Groth. Nishikori has played quite a defensive game at times this week but Cilic is powerful from the baseline so maybe a more pro-active game might benefit Kei more.

At the same time Cilic has struggled to break down his opponents winning his last two matches against Querrey and Zvereve 7-6 7-6 7-5 7-6. To win those three tie-break is great but for a player of his quality and wanting to be a consistent top 10 player he should be trying to finish off some matches a bit easier. For example he led Zverev 7-5 3-1 but was taken to a tie-break by the German. If Nishikori can return serve well I do think he is favourite in baseline rallies with his excellent defensive skills but like I said earlier on in the piece Nishikori has to look forward as well otherwise holding serve might be a bit of a training exercise for him.

I canโ€™t really pick a winner in this one. I havenโ€™t been impressed by either player this week but one of them will be in the final. Nishikori has defended well and has benefited from a lot of errors but will he get the same error count from Cilic I doubt it. I want to see both players play their very best, if both can get to that level then I believe Kei will win but he can’t let Cilic get comfortably on serve.

Citi Open 2015 Preview – Andy Murray v Teymuraz Gabashvili

This year is the first time since 2006 Andy Murray has played the CitiOpen in Washington with his last match there being in the final back in 2006 where he lost to current French Davis Cup captain Arnaud Clement 6-7 2-6. However 9 years later his first round opponent will be Teymuraz Gabashvili who beat Benjamin Becker 4-6 6-1 6-3 to advance to the second round.

I donโ€™t really know too much about Gabashvili but have done some research into the Russian currently ranked at 53 in the world and a few weeks ago hit his career high of 50 and won his first ever doubles title.

Watching some highlights of his matches on YouTube he is a player who likes to go for big shots and to play a game like that you need to settle into the match and get into a rhythm quickly however playing against one of the best rhythm setters on the tour in Andy Murray it will be difficult to control the pace of the match.

Watching his game I would have to say his weakness in my opinion would be his return of serve and net play. Andy has one of the best serves on the tour but what does let him down is the second serve which sometimes is a free hit for the opponent and is something you would expect Gabashvili to try and exploit. However if Murray is on his serving game then it is very tough to stop him. Murray served impressively well throughout the tournaments in Miami and Madrid with very high percentages and even won 100% of points on 2nd serve against Lopez in the first set. We know Murray is one of the best players at producing stunning shots whether it is the lob or drop shot and will definitely cause problems for the Russian with these shots.

With all respect to Gabashvili I expect nothing less than a straight sets win for Murray with the winner of the match playing either Pablo Cuevas or Ricardas Berankis in the third round.

Citi Open 2015 – Andy Murray and Daniel Nestor defeated in the doubles!

In one of the final matches of the day at the Citi Open in Washington Andy Murray and Canadaโ€™s Daniel Nestor came up against the third seeds Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea in the first round of the doubles tournament but sadly couldnโ€™t secure the win despite winning the first set.

Nestor and Murray quickly secured the first set taking it 6-2 and looked well in control of the match at this point with just two points dropped on the first serve and the only break point Bopanna and Mergea had was saved. The second set was the complete opposite as Murray and Nestor went on to lose the second set 6-1 in little time at all after only saving 2/4 break points compared to the 4 that the third seeds saved.

The final set went to a tie-break and the third seeds ran away with it winning the match 2-6 6-1 10-3 to knock out Murray and Nestor and advance to the second round.