ATP Washington 🇺🇸 Round of 16
Denis Kudla d Brandon Nakashima 3-6 7-6(3) 6-4
Nakashima was coming into the match, playing his 13th match in just 17 days. Once the tiebreaker went Kudla's way, it was mentally over for Nakashima. Although he strolled through the first couple of rounds, Kudla is a battler and a hustler, seeing off his second American opponent.
Steve Johnson d Ricardas Berankis 6-1 6-2
After Berankis dismissed his first two opponents, the tables had turned, as Johnson made the most of his break points (4/4) whilst the Lithuanian could not convert any of his 3 break point opportunities. Berankis' serve was lacking, and Johnson (with the help of the crowd) made the most of it!
Jannik Sinner (5) d Sebastian Korda (12) 7-6(5) 7-6(3)
The Italian was just that bit more consistent here, with the major statistic separation being win on second serve. Sinner winning 85% of his second serve compare to just 47% for the American. Both will for sure be in the top 10 in the next few years, with Korda just slipping inside the top 50 now, and aiming for top 30 by the end of the season.
John Millman (11) d Reilly Opelka (8) 6-3 7-6(4)
Despite Millman having a 2-0 H2H against Opelka, he was still a decent underdog. Opelka, with an injury timeout in his last round match, it was not a surprise to see Millman claiming the win here. Opelka's 19 aces to 4 could not help him get over the line, as Millman's rally shots were too good for the American. To beat Opelka, you need to provide a bit more effort and patience. Millman definitely has the patience, as he loves a good rally. The Aussies are hustlers, and a different breed (No bias I swear).
Kei Nishikori d Cam Norrie (7) 3-6 6-3 6-3
Norrie had a good start here, but the crowd could feel Norrie worsening, and Nishikori picking up the pace. I bet no-one has ever met a Nishikori hater. What's there not to love?! Nishikori picked up his intensity, and despite many shifts of momentum during the match, featuring 10 breaks of serve out of 17, Nishikori had the mental and physical fortitude to push Norrie out of the match.
Jenson Brooksby d Felix Auger-Aliassime (2) 6-3 6-4
After Felix's slow start in his last match against Seppi (lost the first set 2-6), there was a feeling the tides would change, especially how Brooksby feeds off the crowd, and how Felix quietens and hides in his shell when the other player has the crowd behind the American. Brooksby did play out of his skin, but maybe that is just Brooksby. The 20yo American has risen 180 spots in the 2021 year to now be 130 in the world, but he should be seeing the top 100 in less than a month if he continues this momentum.
Mackenzie McDonald d Ilya Ivashka 6-4 6-4
McDonald, with the help of the crowd, pulled out an expected match. The American was just that bit better serving and general match statistics. Ivashka's serve let him down, with only 46% first serve compared to 62%. McDonald will need to raise his game if he is to beat Kudla tomorrow.
Lloyd Harris (14) d Rafael Nadal (1) 6-4 1-6 6-4
After Nadal had just won the match of the year contender, questions were raised whether an upset was on the cards here! If world no 192 Jack Sock could create an upset, why couldn't the world no 50? Harris had only played 11 games in the tournament, thanks to his opponent Tennys Sandgren pulling out next week. Harris served up 16 aces, and made the most of his break point opportunities (2/3).