ATP Washington gives players a chance to improve their hard court prowess ahead of the US Open. And even the first-round matchups indicate that this will be a week to remember.
Who will win and who will fall short? I give my best guesses. As always, we here at LWOS give our thoughts on each of the matches. In addition to this article, we split the day’s matches between two articles. One features Stefan Kozlov vs Jack Draper and the other features Andy Murray vs Mikael Ymer.
ATP Washington Day 1 Predictions
Kyle Edmund vs Yosuke Watanuki
Head to Head: never played
Kyle Edmund has returned to the tour from injury and made the round of 16 at the hard-court Winnipeg Challenger last week. However, Edmund’s groundstrokes were erratic in his loss to Alafia Ayeni. Yosuke Watanuki did well to qualify for Washington without losing a set. Watanuki won over 75% of his first serves in qualifying victories over Andrew Fenty and Mitchell Krueger.
These two have never played before. Edmund has a big first serve and a heavy forehand that dominates from the baseline, but he’s still shaking off the rust from his long absence and hasn’t looked like himself yet. Watanuki is fast around the court and is very solid from the baseline. He will make Edmund play a lot of extra shots and will hit with enough depth to make it difficult for Edmund to attack. Expect Watanuki to win this match.
Prediction: Watanuki in 3
Bradley Klahn vs Adrian Mannarino
Head to Head: 1-0 Mannarino
Bradley Klahn is back playing for the first time since 2020. However, it hasn’t been a successful return for the American, losing all four matches he’s played in 2022 and only winning one set in those four matches combined. Adrian Mannarino took advantage of his lucky-loser spot in Atlanta, reaching the quarterfinals of the ATP-Tour event. Mannarino was a set away from the semifinals against Alex De Minaur, but eventually melted down in the heat.
Mannarino leads the head to head 1-0, but that match was in 2015 and irrelevant to this matchup. Mannarino plays a consistency, flat lefty game, with excellent placement around the court. Klahn plays a much heavier lefty game and has a powerful lefty forehand. However, his rally tolerance has been poor since his comeback and, given Mannarino’s consistency, the unforced errors should flow against the Frenchman. In addition, the awkwardness of Mannarino’s flat game should give an undercooked Klahn all sorts of problems. Mannarino should win this one with ease.
Prediction: Mannarino in 2
Denis Kudla vs Michael Mmoh
Head to Head: 3-2 Kudla
Denis Kudla kicked off his 2022 American hard-court season with a first-round loss to Mackenzie McDonald in Atlanta. Kudla only won 49% of his service points against McDonald, a number that needs to improve if he wants to make a run in Washington. Michael Mmoh had been struggling, but managed to qualify for Washington without losing a set. However, Mmoh played weaker competition in Raymond Sarmiento and JC Aragone, so it’s hard to read too much into his qualifying campaign.
Kudla leads the head to head 3-2, having won three-straight matchups between the two, including a three-set victory in Sarasota earlier this season. Kudla is comfortable with playing offense, as his groundstrokes cut through the court nicely and he understands the right time in a given point to pull the trigger. Mmoh, on the other hand, relies more on getting a lot of balls in play deep in the court, but struggles when having to step up in the court and play aggressive tennis. Given Kudla’s foot speed, Mmoh will be forced out of his comfort zone and will have to take more risks during points than he’s comfortable with.
Kudla’s combination of being quick and play defense at a high level and ability to step up in the court and rip big groundstrokes will be key in this match.
Prediction: Kudla in 3
Main Photo from Getty.