Tennis - The Citi Open gets underway in Washington DC on Monday and while none of the top six players in the world are competing, there's still plenty of interest in the draw which is headed by former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro. Here's our breakdown of the men's draw -
First Quarter -
del Potro is the top seed at this event and after a good showing at Wimbledon where he lost to top ranked Novak Djokovic in a thrilling five set semi-final, the Argentine will he happy to get back to his favourite surface. After a bye in the first round, he will meet the winner of the match between Atlanta semi-finalists Lleyton Hewitt and Ryan Harrison. Potro also has the young Australian Bernard Tomic, seeded 14th, in his section while his scheduled quarter-final opponent is the in-form South African Kevin Anderson. The world no. 21 Anderson is currently in the finals in Atlanta and is playing the best tennis of his life. Also watch out for former world no. 7 Mardy Fish in this section.
Second Quarter -
At no. 3, 35 year old German veteran Tommy Haas is the top seed in this section. Haas loves playing on hardcourts and if he remains healthy, he will be going deep in the draw. The big -servng American Sam Querrey is seeded sixth here but could have some trouble against Mr. Sharapova - Grigor Dimitrov in the third round. Dimitrov is seeded no. 11 in the draw and the Bulgarian has been making steady progress towards the top 20. Will this summer see his big breakhtorugh?
Thiird Quarter -
Milos Raonic, the no. 4 seed, will be happy to get back to the hardcourts after a third round exit in Paris and a second round exit at Wimbledon. With his big serve and big forehand, Raonic should have been in the top 10 already. But the Canadian's game seems to have suffered since his split from coach Galo Blanco a few months ago. Frenchman Gilles Simon, seeded no. 5, Nikolay Davydenko, seeded 15th, and Michael Llodra, seeded 17th, are the other seeds in this section. Veterans James Blake and Radek Stepanek are also in this section as are rising Americans Steve Johnson and Denis Kudla.
Fourth Quarter -
Kei Nishikori is now on the verge of becoming the first Japanese player in history to break into the top 10. At no. 11, Nishikori is seeded second in the draw. And he will face stiff competition from John Isner, the no. 8 seed. Isner is currently playing in the finals in Atlanta. Alexandr Dolgopolov, the no. 9 seed, and Marcos Baghdatis, the no. 16 seed who has barely won a match this year, are also in this section. Also keep an eye out for young American Jack Sock, who could upset Nishikori in the second round.
Predictions - del Potro vs. Grigor Dimitrov in first semi final; Gilles Simon vs. John Isner in the second semi final
del Potro to beat Isner in the finals.
Complete Citi Open Draw -
(1) (WC) Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) d. Bye
Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) vs. Ryan Harrison (USA)
David Goffin (BEL) vs. Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE)
(14) Bernard Tomic (AUS) d. Bye
(12) Julien Benneteau (FRA) d. Bye
(Q) vs. Mardy Fish (USA)
(WC) James Duckworth (AUS) vs. (Q)
(7) Kevin Anderson (RSA) d. Bye
(3) Tommy Haas (GER) d. Bye
Grega Zemlja (SLO) vs. (Q)
Ricardas Berankis (LTU) vs. Tobias Kamke (GER)
(13) Ivan Dodig (CRO) d. Bye
(11) Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) d. Bye
Xavier Malisse (BEL) vs. Rajeev Ram (USA)
Denis Istomin (UZB) vs. Santiago Giraldo (COL)
(6) Sam Querrey (USA) d. Bye
(5) Gilles Simon (FRA) d. Bye
(Q) vs. Dmitry Tursunov (RUS)
Radek Stepanek (CZE) vs. (WC) Steve Johnson (USA)
(17) Michael Llodra (FRA) d. Bye
(15) Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) d. Bye
James Blake (USA) vs. Marinko Matosevic (AUS)
(WC) Denis Kudla (USA) vs. (Q)
(4) Milos Raonic (CAN) d. Bye
(8) John Isner (USA) d. Bye
Alex Bogomolov Jr. (RUS) vs. (Q)
(Q) vs. (Q)
(9) Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) d. Bye
(16) Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) d. Bye
Lukas Lacko (SVK) vs. Alejandro Falla (COL)
(WC) Jack Sock (USA) vs. Igor Sijsling (NED)
(2) Kei Nishikori (JPN) d. Bye
How to play from the baseline
The expression “to endure the rally” is about those indeterminate moments of a rally where none of the players is leading.
The ability to endure the rally is fundamental when you play a “long rally”, because it offers you the chance to measure your opponent’s strong points and vulnerabilities, besides letting you position as best as possible for your next offensive shot.