Citi Open women’s court to feature US Open 2021 finalists

Citi Open women’s court to feature US Open 2021 finalists

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The teenage girls whose march to the US Open women’s final last year captivated tennis fans will use the Citi Open in Washington as a key step in their preparations for the final Grand Slam of the season.

Defending US Open champion Emma Raducanu and runner-up Leylah Fernandez are among the first commitments for the Citi Open women’s tournament, which returns this summer after a three-year absence. It will take place at Rock Creek Park Tennis Center alongside Citi’s long-running men’s tournament from July 30 to August 30. seven.

Britain’s Raducanu and Canada’s Fernandez, both 19 and ranked 11th and 15th respectively, will be joined in Washington’s 32-man women’s field by 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens and her compatriot American Sofia Kenin, who won the Australian Open 2020.

Early commitments for Washington’s 48-man men’s tournament include Andrey Rublev of Russia in eighth; Australian Nick Kyrgios, 2019 Citi Open champion; and top-ranked American Taylor Fritz, Reilly Opelka, 18th, and Hyattsville native Frances Tiafoe, 27th.

The courts for both tournaments are still taking shape, Citi Open chairman Mark Ein says, as players sort out their hard-court schedules after Wimbledon in preparation for the US Open, which will kick off. August 29.

The Citi Open in Washington will bring back the women’s journeyman tournament

“It’s a great group, and there’s more to come,” said Ein, a Washington-based venture capitalist who in April 2019 acquired management rights to the Citi Open of the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation, which provides free tennis and educational programs for children in underserved communities and is the beneficiary of the event.

“The Citi Open is the first major hard-court event leading up to the US Open,” Ein noted, “and it will have added significance, particularly this year, as players look to increase their ranking points.”

Ein was referring to the ATP and WTA joint decision not to award ranking points for Wimbledon this year in retaliation for the Ban by All England Club of Russian and Belarusian players to protest the invasion of Ukraine.

The ATP 500-rated Citi Open men’s event is one rung higher than the women’s event (a WTA 250) in terms of its field size, ranking points and prize money.

But in the decade that Citi held a companion women’s event, before its sanction holder moved the event elsewhere, it garnered strong fan support and garnered a top-flight field.

The Citi Open last hosted a women’s tour-level event in 2019. It was won by American Jessica Pegulawho reached a career-high No. 8 this week on the heels of his quarter-final performance at Roland Garros.

Raducanu, who will make her Citi Open debut, was the first player to confirm her participation earlier this month.

She became a British sensation when she reached the fourth round of Wimbledon last summer, just weeks after passing her high school exams, as the 338th wild card. At the US Open in September, she became a global brand by becoming the first Open-era qualifier to win a Grand Slam title. Raducanu was also the first woman to win the US Open without dropping a set since Serena Williams in 2014.

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