ATP Citi Open 2013: Americans to Watch in US Open Warmup

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ATP Citi Open 2013: Americans to Watch in US Open Warmup
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
2013 Atlanta Open winner No.20 John Isner consistently owns the Citi Open.

The second round of the 2013 ATP Citi Open begins today, and a sizable group of Americans on both the men's and women's side will be taking the court.

While there are a few bigger names scattered throughout, many players are just trying to establish themselves as premier competitors on the international stage. Here are a few to keep an eye out for: 

 

Alison Riske

Riske has mastered another surface, which bodes well for her budding career:

The 23-year-old beat fellow American Vania King on July 30 in straight sets (6-3, 7-5), continuing to show why she deserves to stay on the big stage.

Riske has seen some notable success this year. While she entered 2013's Wimbledon as a wild-card entry ranked No. 126, she upset No. 44 Urszula Radwanska in the second round to reach the third round for the first time in her Grand Slam career. Because her first round opponent forfeited due to injury, this was actually Riske's first ever Grand Slam match point

Riske just recently broke into the top 100 in the WTA after she reached the finals at Portland, and is now ranked No. 96. Expect to see her climb the ranks more in coming years.

Riske will take on Romanian Sorana Cirstea in the second round on August 1.

 

John Isner

No. 20 Isner was the first player announced to the Citi Open, which is fitting considering his history there.

Since his first ATP World Tour in 2007, "Isner has reached the quarterfinals, or better, in four of his five appearances at the tournament," according to CitiOpenTennis.com.

Ryan Bacic of InTheCapital reports that Isner entered that first tournament as wild card but cruised into the finals where he lost to Andy Roddick.

Bacic cites an interview that Isner did with reporters on a conference call: "It's a surface that I like, and on top of that, you're playing in the nation's capital," Isner said. "It's an absolutely incredible place, I'm always in a good mood there, the hotel is amazing—everything about the tournament is so much fun."

Isner is riding some positive momentum coming into the current tournament.

Just last Sunday, July 28, Isner won the Atlanta Open and took two tiebreakers in the process. With the victory, Isner became the sole American in the world's top 20.

Maybe Sports Illustrated's Body Issue shoot has given him a boost of confidence. 

Isner will take on countryman Alex Kuznetsov in the second round today a 4 p.m.

 

Madison Keys

Keys is a phenom on the rise.

The 18-year-old gained recognition four years ago when she beat Serena Williams at a World Team Tennis match, and she's only improved from there.

In her last tournament, Keys was upset in the second by Vera Dushevina in the Bank of the West Classic, but she still made a splash in the first round by doing some upsetting of her own.

Keys has the tools to become a top 10 player. While her backhand is significantly stronger than her forehand, she's still honing her craft.

Chris Oddo of Tennis Now thinks it's not a matter of if but when Keys will wield WTA's best serve. According to Oddo, Keys is "in the top 10 in five of six serving statistics archived by the WTA on a regular basis, and the sixth—1st serve percentage—is largely considered to have the least significant correlation with wins and losses on the tour."

While Keys' game isn't yet cohesive enough for her to compete with the world's best on a consistent basis, she's clearly making an impact on them:

In her first match of the Citi Open, Keys handily beat Portugal's Michelle Larcher de Brito on July 30 in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3. She will face Monica Niculescu in the second round on August 1.

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