Daniil Medvedev readies for play against Marin Cilic
Daniil Medvedev readies for play against Marin Cilic|stadiumastro.com

Citi Open Friday men's quarters: Abrams picks Tsitsipas vs. Paire, Medvedev vs. Cilic, Edmund vs. Gojowczyk, Kyrgios (highlights) vs. Gombos

Marches start at 2 pm EDT.

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

Citi Open

Washington, D.C.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Men’s Quarterfinals

Stefanos Tsitsipas over Benoit Paire

Lets not forget that Stefanos Tsitsipas, the Greek God of Tennis, is only 20-years-old. I mentioned this yesterday, that he’s done so well this year, advancing far in tournaments to the point that he has been on TV and in the media so much, that we often forget that the guy can’t order a hard drink in the U.S. I bring this up because he’s up against Benoit Paire, the 30-year-old Frenchman who is having a career resurgence this year, which he confirmed by beating 6’10” American server John Isner 6-4, 6-4 in the Third Round here. Paire beat Tsitsipas the only time they played, but that was two years ago, when Tsitsipas was just 18, and his hair was much, much shorter. Now, the Samson of the Greek Isles should use his all-court game to pretty much dominate his French opponent. I’m guessing that it should be an entertaining match, because Paire can play, but ultimately, Tsitsipas should roll.

Daniil Medvedev over Marin Cilic

Marin Cilic looked awfully good in dominating FA2 6-3, 6-4. Cilic broke serve in the first game of the match and was never behind. I thought FA2 served poorly, on the whole, but part of that was the imposing presence that Cilic presented. Even with that impressive straight set win, Cilic is not the same player he was five years ago when he won the U.S. Open. He’s ranked #17, and was only 11-10 for the year coming into this tournament. Medvedev, on the other hand, is a Top Tenner now, and he came into this event with a 2019 record of 30-14. And although Cilic is 6’6” and can sometimes look like a giant, the Russian is the same height, and is as solid as Cilic is, without the extra seven years on his body. Medvedev is always capable of throwing in absolute boner from time to time, but his consistency is improving, his shots are strong, and he’s as strong mentally as he is physically. I like the Russian to move on.

Kyle Edmund over Peter Gojowczyk

Gojo has had a terrific tournament once he got that qualifying loss out of the way and got into the main draw as a lucky loser. His most recent win, a 6-4, 6-4 straight set win over Milos Raonic was very unexpected, but very decisive. However, his other two wins here were just as impressive, as he took out both Andrey Rublev and Alex de Minaur. This should be the end of the road for Gojo, but it’s hard to simply give him no chance. He’s lost to Edmund the two times they’ve played, but both matches were very close three setters that realistically could have gone the other way. I like Edmund because he’s solid, he’s confident, and he’s on a nice streak himself, having just topped Jo-Willie Tsonga in a close, well-played three setter in the Round of 16. This should be close, it should be high quality tennis, and it should be very entertaining for the fans who are lucky enough to be there to see it.

Nick Kyrgios over Norbert Gombos

How about Norbert Gombos? The 28-year-old Slovakian knocked out talented 19-year-old Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic 7-6 in the third to remind us all that there is a very deep and talented pool of players just chomping at the bit to take on the Tour players at each and every tournament. Gombos, a career Challenger player, seems to have enough talent to play with the big boys. Knowing that there’s someone (actually, a lot of them) who are in their late 20’s still knocking on the door, looking for their chance is humbling, because in the right circumstance, any of maybe fifty or so guys who we’ve never heard of could beat a top line player and emerge into the collective consciousness of the tennis establishment. Now, can Gombos beat Nick Kyrgios? Based on what I saw last night, when Kyrgios knocked out the tough Yoshi Nishioka, I say “no”. Kyrgios served too hard, hit his groundstrokes too hard, tried different strategies including a jumping drop shot (!), found unreal angles on volleys and drop shots, and basically played the game like he wanted to win. If Nick wants to win, he will. Interestingly, Nick’s show seems to play well to a big crowd. When he’s on a side court, he’s curt, angry, and anxious. But when he’s put on the Center Court, as he was last night, he tries, he entertains, and he takes the competition seriously. Based on the crowd’s reception last night, I’d be surprised if they decide to deny Kyrgios his time in the spotlight. So if they stick these guys on Center Court, expect the Aussie to play, and expect him to win. And the show should be something to see.

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