Citi Open Marks 50 Years (photos)

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Twenty-year-old Hyattsville native Frances Tiafoe pleased the hometown fans by winning his second-round match against Hubert Hurkacz of Poland 6-2, 6-4. Photo by Jeff Malet.

The Washington Open, currently sponsored by Citigroup, is marking 50 years of professional tennis at its original location at Rock Creek Park in the nation’s capital. The 2018 tournament features one of its strongest fields ever.

One of the first open professional tennis tournaments in the country, the tournament was co-founded by Donald Dell and John Harris in 1969 for the men’s tour. It wasn’t until 2011 that women were invited to participate.

Dell had asked the legendary Arthur Ashe if he would be willing to play in a tournament in Washington, D.C. Ashe replied that he would, on the condition that the tournament would be played in a public park in a desegregated neighborhood, where everyone, regardless of race, would have the opportunity to watch. Dell and Harris would later donate the tournament to the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation, which provides underserved area youth with a safe environment to learn tennis and life skills.

In the tournament’s biggest upset thus far, American Sloane Stephens, the reigning US Open champion and third-ranked player in the world, was defeated in the second round by  Germany’s Andrea Petkovic 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 on Wednesday, Aug. 1. Petkovic thereby reached the quarterfinals of a WTA tour event for the first time since reaching the semifinals at the Citi Open in 2017. Stephens became the highest seed in the women’s draw when Caroline Wozniacki withdrew earlier with a foot injury.

Also on Wednesday, three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray of the U.K., making his third appearance at the tournament, defeated fellow countryman and fourth seed Kyle Edmund 7-6 (7-4), 1-6, 6-4 in a match that lasted well over two hours. It was only Murray’s fifth match since suffering a hip injury a year ago. Edmund, the Australian Open semifinalist, has since replaced Murray as Britain’s highest-ranked man.

Defending champion and world number three Alex (Sascha) Zverev defeated Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri 6-2, 6-1 to earn a match with his older brother Mischa in the third round. After five years together on the ATP Tour, this will be their first meeting on court. Defending champion Alexander, 21, defeated Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri 6-2, 6-1 while Mischa beat American Tim Smyczek 6-2, 7-6 (9/7). The two siblings are also competing in the tournament as a doubles team.

Twenty-year-old Hyattsville native Frances Tiafoe pleased the hometown fans by winning his second-round match against Hubert Hurkacz of Poland 6-2, 6-4.

View Jeff Malet’s photos at the Citi Open’s halfway point by clicking on the photo icons below.

 

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