Thiem begins US Open tune-up with late-night victory at Citi Open

Top seeds Dominic Thiem and Simona Halep cruise into the round of 16 at the ATP and WTA Citi Open with straight-set triumphs at the US Open tune-up event in Washington DC.
Thiem begins US Open tune-up with late-night victory at Citi Open

Simona Halep hits a backhand against Sloane Stephens of the United States during their Citi Open match at Fitzgerald Tennis Center in Washington DC on August 1, 2017. The Romanian top seed won 7-6 (3), 6-0.

Top-seeded Dominic Thiem began his tune-up  for the US Open with an easy late-night victory at the rain-delayed Citi Open in Washington DC.

Taking the court shortly after 10pm on Tuesday for his opening-round match, Thiem dispatched Henri Laaksonen 6-3, 6-3, in 1 hour, 3 minutes. The Austrian dropped only eight points on his serve and one on his first serve in his first hardcourt match since March.

"I felt good. It got really late. It's always a little bit tricky after a longer period without matches," said Thiem, a French Open semifinalist. "I'm pretty happy with my performance."

The Citi Open also includes former champion Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic, Grigor Dmitrov and Nick Kyrgios.

"It's such a strong tournament," Thiem said. "There should be basically 4 or 5 top seeds, and I'm one of them."

Eighth-seeded Jack Sock beat Marius Copil 7-6 (2), 7-6 (6) in a match that was delayed more than 3 hours by rain.

On the women's side, top-seeded Simona Halep defeated the 2015 Washington champion, Sloane Stephens, 7-6 (3), 6-0. Halep will face Mariana Duque-Marino in the second round. Stephens was playing her second match of the season after missing nearly a year with a stress fracture in her foot.

Halep, who reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, is ranked No. 2 behind Karolina Pliskova.

Ekaterina Makarova stopped Jamie Loeb 7-6 (4), 6-3, and Monica Puig beat Louisa Chirico 6-4, 6-4. The rain delay forced the women's night matches to be postponed to Wednesday.

At Stanford, California, sixth seed CoCo Vandeweghe had barely raised a sweat when her opponent Ajla Tomljanovic retired hurt to hand the American victory in their Bank of the West Classic first-round encounter on Tuesday.

Lasting just 31 minutes, the match was perhaps not quite the workout Vandeweghe would have preferred but she had no complaints after taking the first set 6-2 before her Croatian opponent departed injured.

Vandeweghe then enthused about being on home soil in the build up to the US Open later this month.

"It was disappointing to have a retirement today but I thought I was playing well... This is the moment I love to play, the summer hardcourt series," she said.

With main attractions Garbine Muguruza, Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova idle, other players took their chance to shine on a good day for Americans.

In a battle of teenagers, qualifier Caroline Dolehide upset Naomi Osaka 6-4, 6-2 for her first career victory. She broke the Japanese player four times.

Alison Riske recovered from a break down in the second set to beat Poland's Magda Linette 6-2 ,6-4.

Another victorious American was Catherline Bellis, a 6-3, 6-2 winner over Alize Cornet of France.

Special Reports