#NextGenATP American Brandon Nakashima gave himself a nice 20th birthday present on Tuesday with a 6-3, 6-3 win against Australian Alexei Popyrin in the first round of the Citi Open.
The 20-year-old is in great form after making the final in back-to-back weeks in Los Cabos and Atlanta. Nakashima showed his confidence against this year’s Singapore titlist, converting all three of his break points to advance after 70 minutes.
Before the Mifel Open began two weeks ago, Nakashima had not won a tour-level match since last year’s US Open. Since beginning his run in Los Cabos, the American has gone 9-2, a stretch that propelled him into the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings on Monday for the first time at World No. 89.
Nakashima secured the critical break for 3-2 in the second set with great groundstroke depth, causing Popyrin to miss a forehand into the net. The home favourite lost just one more service point the rest of the way and earned his third service break to finish off his victory. Nakashima will next play sixth seed Daniel Evans of Great Britain.
Two more #NextGenATP Americans will also compete on Tuesday. Sebastian Korda will play Canadian Vasek Pospisil and Jenson Brooksby, who beat Kevin Anderson on Monday, will take on countryman Frances Tiafoe, the 16th seed.