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Cornet plays Day 1,Tiafoe gets shot at Citi Open

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The Citi Open gets under way at 1:45 p.m. July 28 when sixth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova takes on Polona Hercog in stadium court at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center. American Vania King faces wildcard Francoise Abanda in Grandstand 1 at 2 p.m. The Citi Open may also grant up to two main draw wildcards to Top 20 players.

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The women’s tournament is classified as a World Tennis Association International event. There are 30 International events with a minimum prize money pool of $220,000 competing for up to 280 ranking points. Champions at each International event are eligible to compete in the year-end Tournament of Champions in Sofia, Bulgaria in October. The Citi Open prize money pool is increased to $250,000 for 2014.

The men’s Citi Open is an Association of Tennis Professionals World Tour 500 and is recognized by the ATP World Tour as one of the top 20 men’s tournaments in the world. As a member of this classification, the tournament offers $1.5 million in prize money, 500 ranking points to the winner, and additional television time both domestically and internationally. With more prize money, more ranking points and more worldwide exposure comes additional player interest and commitment requirements.

Tennis fans may want to make an extra effort to get to Rock Creek Park by 6 p.m. American sweetheart Taylor Townsend qualified and will play and will play Germany’s Julia Georges around that time on Grandstand 1. Third-seeded Alize Cornet challenges wildcard Shelby Rogers on Grandstand 2 near the same time.

On the men’s side, Francis Tiafoe, of College Park, MD, meets Russian Evgeny Donsky in Tiafoes’s first ATP World Tour tournament’s main draw. Tiafoe, 16, won the Citi Open Wild Card Challenge in June and earned his spot with a wild card entry in the qualifying rounds. Tournament officials, however, decided that main draw play would be more fitting for the hometown player.

“We’re excited to watch Francis in his first main draw match,” said Jeff Newman, tournament director. “This is his hometown and this is where he trains, so we expect a great crowd to come out and support him.”

Eugenie Bouchard withdrew from the tournament citing medical reasons.

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