It was tiebreak city at the Citi Open on Wednesday with eight singles matches including at least one ‘7-6’ in the scoreline. Add a couple of shocking upsets to the mix, and it was a dramatic day in D.C.
Genie Bouchard led the tiebreak charge, gutting out the first set 7-6(6) against No. 8 seed Christina McHale on her ninth set point. That confidence boost was all she needed to find her rhythm. She finished off her American opponent 6-0 in the second set.
Former Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki got the best of Greek qualifier Valentini Grammatikopoulou 7-6(2), 7-6(8) in just her third tournament back after missing the first half of the year with a shoulder injury. Monica Niculescu and Julia Goerges continued the tiebreak trend, both knocking out their opponents 7-6 in the final set.
Kristina Mladenovic, Ekaterina Makarova and Oceane Dodin also advanced.
Men’s action kicked off with a first-time matchup between 2014 Citi Open champion Milos Raonic and veteran Frenchman Nicolas Mahut. It would take Raonic two hours and two tiebreaks to get the job done.
The first big Day 3 upset belonged to American wild card Tommy Paul, who took out No. 7 seed Lucas Pouille 7-6(6) 6-3 to reach his second straight quarterfinal. He’ll have another tough test when he faces Rafael Nadal’s Wimbledon vanquisher Gilles Simon in the third round.
Yuki Bhambri, an Indian qualifier ranked No. 200 in the world, upped the upset ante, shocking defending champion Gael Monfils 6-3, 4-6, 7-5. The 25-year-old was a junior Australian Open champion in 2009, but has struggled to gain his footing on the ATP World Tour. This match may just be his turning point.
Alexander Zverev narrowly avoided the same fate as Monfils. The German lost the first set to Australian Jordan Thompson before shifting the momentum in the second. Up 3-0 in the third, it looked like Zverev was going to cruise to victory before Thompson pushed the match to a final-set – you guessed it – tiebreak. Zverev admitted afterward that it wasn’t his best tennis, but it was the world No. 8 who pulled out the win 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(5).
“I tried to stay calm, stay composed, just focus on me,” Zverev said. “I had a lot of matches on hard courts already, and I’ve played on hard courts since Miami. I’m just very happy to get that win.”
Gilles Muller, Grigor Dimitrov, Jared Donaldson and Kevin Anderson also booked slots in the third-round.
The fun continues tomorrow!