Looking Forward to This Week's Citi Open in Washington, D.C.

Dearl NelsonContributor IIIJuly 29, 2013

Juan Martin del Potro, Argentina
Juan Martin del Potro, Argentina

The nation's capital is host this week to the Citi Open, a dual men's and women's tournament. With a strong player field of both up-and-coming American tennis hopefuls and international stars, 2013 is looking like it may be the best year yet for the D.C. tournament.

This week, players will be hoping to gain momentum heading into the two Premier-level events in Cincinnati and Toronto (WTA)/Montreal (ATP) that start in the next two weeks, and then finally the U.S. Open. 

In the men's field, 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro is the top seed. The Argentine faces tough competition from John Isner, Tommy Haas, Kei Nishikori, Lleyton Hewitt, Sam Querrey and Milos Raonic.

With so many big servers in the draw, the winner will be the player who shows the most consistency throughout the week.

Del Potro will be looking for his second title of the year, after winning earlier in Rotterdam. He is also the 2008 and 2009 champion in D.C.

Del Potro will have to prove himself as the tournament's favorite with a challenging third-round matchup with Bernard Tomic, and a tough possible quarterfinal with Kevin Anderson. 

On the women's side, Angelique Kerber of Germany is the No. 1 seed, with American sweetheart Sloane Stephens seeded No. 2. This will be the first tournament that Stephens plays as a top-two seed in her career.

With crowd support and momentum from a quarterfinal showing at Wimbledon this year, can Stephens grab her first-ever WTA Tour title this week?

Or will the pressure of duplicating this year's previous stellar results be too much for the 20-year-old?

Stephens will face Olga Puchkova tonight in the first round and possibly faces Mona Barthel of Germany in the quarterfinals. Kerber will start off against American Irina Falconi. 

Also in the women's draw are Andrea Petkovic, Sorana Cirstea, Heather Watson, Madison Keys, Taylor Townsend and Christina McHale. Keep an eye on Keys and Townsend as they are two players who dominated Junior competition and are posed to make a big breakthrough soon.