The preparation for the forthcoming US Open is set to get underway in earnest this week at the ATP Washington Open. There should be plenty of entertaining action on day one. There are nine first-round matches on the schedule and, as always, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for every match, including Kei Nishikori vs Sam Querrey. But who will come out on top?
ATP Washington Day 1 Predictions
Tommy Paul vs Daniel Elahi Galan
Head-to-head: Paul 3-0 Galan
Daniel Elahi Galan has managed to get his ranking close to the top 100 and he has been rewarded with direct entry to some big tournaments as a result. He was even able to take advantage of a kind draw to reach the second round at Wimbledon, where he gave a good account of himself by taking a set of 22nd seed Lorenzo Sonego. But he remains far more comfortable on the clay than he is on grass and hard courts. Tommy Paul, in contrast, grew up in conditions similar to those in Washington.
He has also beaten Galan in all three of their previous meetings, including last season in Delray Beach. Paul lost just six games in that match as he overwhelmed Galan with his power from the baseline, with his forehand typically destructive. It should serve him well once again here. Paul has not had a particularly impressive season so far, but the coming weeks in familiar conditions should allow him to put some wins in his column. Expect him to start here.
Prediction: Paul in 2
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Egor Gerasimov vs Ilya Ivashka
Head-to-head: Gerasimov 3-3 Ivashka
Although this is their first tour-level meeting, Egor Gerasimov and Ilya Ivashka know each other well and there will be few surprises in store when they step on to court. For one thing, they have met six times at Challengers, Futures and ATP qualifying. They are also the leading lights of Belarusian men’s tennis and the only players from that country currently ranked inside the ATP’s top 100. There has also been almost nothing between them so far in their careers.
They have split their six matches evenly and they are similarly experienced at ATP-level. Gerasimov has won 50 matches to Ivashka’s 40 and lost four fewer, but Ivashka has played the better tennis this season and is the higher-ranked man coming into this match. He has been particularly impressive of late, reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon and then the third round at the Tokyo Olympics. If he can maintain that level, expect him to edge out his compatriot here.
Prediction: Ivashka in 3
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Kevin Anderson vs Jenson Brooksby
Head-to-head: Anderson 1-0 Brooksby
Kevin Anderson gave a reminder of his enduring quality at the ATP Newport Open. The South African, who has twice reached a Major final but has struggled badly with injury of late, excelled in Rhode Island, reaching the final where he beat none other than Jenson Brooksby. But he proved unable to back that up in Atlanta, where he was beaten in the first round by Nick Kyrgios in straight sets. He will no doubt be hoping for a longer stay at the ATP Washington Open.
Brooksby, meanwhile, followed up his run to the final in Newport with a quarterfinal showing at the Lexington Challenger, although he did benefit from the retirement of his countryman Ulysses Blanch in the second round having been a set down in that match. This looks to have the makings of a close match, but Anderson should be the more confident heading into it. He has historically played well in these conditions and they suit his game better than Brooksby’s. He should have just about enough.
Prediction: Anderson in 3
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Jack Sock vs Yoshihito Nishioka
Head-to-head: Sock 2-1 Nishioka
There is no doubting Jack Sock’s talent, but the American will only have so many more opportunities to prove that he can still cut it as a tour-level regular in singles. His decline since qualifying for the ATP Finals in 2018 has been precipitous, with his ranking currently outside the world’s top 200. That has been due to inactivity in this discipline as much as anything: the ATP Washington Open is just the third tour-level event Sock has entered this season.
Encouragingly, however, the American played quite well at the Newport and Atlanta Opens, reaching the quarterfinals at the former and the second round at the latter. He has also beaten Nishioka in two of their three previous meetings, although one of those wins did come via retirement. Still, this is a winnable match for the American if he plays anything like his best tennis. After all, he dismissed the Japanese last month in Newport. This should be more competitive, but expect Sock to come out on top.
Prediction: Sock in 3
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