The ATP Citi Open in Washington has a good-looking draw this year, bookended by Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz, and featuring the return of Andy Murray to hard courts. Taylor Fritz, Denis Shapovalov, and Nick Kyrgios also feature, although reigning champion Jannik Sinner will sit out the tournament after his finals victory in Umag. Can Nick Kyrgios repeat his 2019 performance and lift the trophy again, after having to bow out of his last tournament with an injury? 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 Denis Kudla vs Michael Mmoh.
ATP Washington Day 1 Predictions
James Duckworth vs Borna Gojo
Head-to-head: Duckworth 1-0
This is more of a Challenger matchup than an ATP one, and it favors Duckworth significantly. Gojo is ranked almost 200th in the world, and has never won a title at any level, including Futures, although hard court is his favorite surface. Duckworth has managed to stay inside the top 100, but is only 2-9 on the year; however, he has ten hard court titles at the Challenger level. The Aussie should move on comfortably.
Prediction: Duckworth in 2
J.J. Wolf vs Taro Daniel
Head-to-head: Wolf 1-0
This too is more of a Challenger matchup, as both players have played on the lower tour recently. They are near each other in the rankings, but Daniel has hovered around #100 for years, while Wolf is slowly on the rise. Their Challenger play on hard court is almost identical, but Daniel has a lot more ATP experience, although he prefers clay. Wolf should be the more motivated, and won a H2H at a Challenger several years ago, when the American was certainly farther behind in his skills. Both have some decent wins on their resume this year, and it is impossible to choose between them. Wolf has more to gain, and has the H2H, so I’ll use that to give him the edge.
Prediction: Wolf in 3
Andy Murray vs Mikael Ymer
Head-to-head: first meeting
Andy Murray is back on court after a couple weeks off, and he figures to be a factor back on his favorite surface. He has been very good in the first round or two of tournaments this year, and has scrapped his way back to a top 50 ranking. He can still reach an extremely high level, evidenced by wins earlier this year over Stefanos Tsitsipas, Nick Kyrgios, and Denis Shapovalov, and Mikael Ymer will have his hands full even with the metal-hipped version of Murray. I would expect an aggressive version of Murray here, dictating with his forehand, and I think he will be eager to try to end the match in two.
Prediction: Murray in 2
Main Photo from Getty.