Barely taking our breath back after that great week in Canada, we move to Cincinnati for Men’s Masters Event and Women’s Premier 5 one. Taking you on a quick tour who will participate and guessing what to expect
Novak Djokovic leads the field as he will be looking to bounce back after a narrowly lost Rogers Cup final to Andy Murray in Canada over the weekend. Djokovic, the champion in 2007, 2011 and 2012, lost for only the fourth time in 56 matches this year. The Serb failed in his bid to tie the ATP Tour record for consecutive Masters 1000 event titles at five. He was playing his 9-th straight final, a run that included championship victories over Murray this year in the Australian Open and Miami.
Novak has lost early in its previous 2 showings here in Cincinnati – last year in the 2nd round vs Robredo and in 2013 to John Isner in the QF. The Serb is looking to become the first player ever to complete a Career Golden Masters as he has won 8 of the 9 tournaments from this series in his career with the only blunder taking place this week…
He has stiff challenge as potential R3 clash with either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or David Goffin and has the Roland Garros champion Stan Wawrinka in his part of the draw as well. We shall see in what condition the Swiss is coming here, as he retired in his 2nd round match vs Kyrgios last week in Montreal nursing back problems.
4-th seed of the event Kei Nishikori withdraw with fatigue and he will show again at the US Open which starts in 2 weeks. Interesting that the Japanese didn’t play a month before going in Canada and making it into the Semis there.
Tomas Berdych round up the top seeds in the top half of the draw as he will attempt to win a match for the first time since Wimbledon. He lost last week to Donald Young as a 1.17$ favourite…
Defending Champion of the event, and seeking unprecedented 7-th crown in Cincy, Roger Federer is the 2nd seed and will be trying to get his No.2 ranking back as Andy Murray overtook him with his title last week. Fascinating encounter and tennis classic matchup with Rafael Nadal is on the cards if both make it to the QF. They haven’t played a competitive match since Australian Open in January last year, a 3-0 sets win for the Spaniard.
Andy Murray who won Rogers Cup has a 600 point lead over Federer in what may seem a week long battle who gets the 2nd seed in US Open and thus avoiding a meeting with World No.1 Novak Djokovic before the final.
The US Open champion Marin Cilic may be the Scots high rank opponent in QF as he bids to become one of just a handful of players completing the Rogers Cup/Cincinnati double.
Serena Williams leads the pack and will try to defend her title in Ohio. The 2014 final may happen early this time though as Ana Ivanovic is in the same section of the draw and potential bout between the two is a projected for the QF.
Williams who lost in the Semis last week to eventual and surprising champion Belinda Bencic, described her game against the Swiss as ‘not up to par’ and ‘amateur’.
Petra Kvitova, which was diagnosed with mononucleosis, but is cleared to play, has a tough road ahead this week. Sabine Lisicki may be her 2nd round opponent with probably the winner of Svitolina and Bouchard as a next hurdle on the way, and we haven’t even made it to the Quarters…
Belinda Bencic that made a dream run last week in Canada defeating 4 top 10 players with all 6 played at least 1 GS final in their respective careers, jumped from 20-th to No.12 in the world rankings. She is scheduled to play her first match vs the feisty German Angelique Kerber . Fatigue may be an issue as she spent over 10 hours on court and also the rollercoaster ride through the week may get her spent. The number of players in the draw won’t give the young Swiss much time to rest as well.
Lucie Safarova, the Roland Garros finalist, returned to court after the 4th round loss to Wanderweghe in Wimbledon a month ago. Her Toronto campaign was cut short in the 1st round by Darya Gavrilova, but she won the doubles title alongside Mattek-Sands and they qualified for the doubles top 8 event taking place in Singapore in the end of the season.
This section of the draw where projected QF match between Czechs Kvitova and Safarova is on the cards, it has some really interesting names around, that can definitely do the spoiler part.
The 2nd seed Maria Sharapova had to withdraw from Toronto last week due to a right leg strain. But she is back here in Cincy for her first match since Wimbledon SF. She lost a heated Semis match 12 months ago vs Ana Ivanovic and this field and potential opponents will answer lot of question about the Russian’s current form and state of mind. Ka. Pliskova is her projected QF opponent and the hard hitting Czech is always a threat to the best with its flat game and one, two punch.
Agnieszka Radwanska who failed to defend her Rogers Cup title and thus losing her top 10 ranking, will be looking to get back there with strong week, but meeting with Sharapova in R3 doesn’t look that promising.
The 3rd quarter of the draw and that will give, presumably, Sharapova’s opponent in the Semis has lot of questions surrounding it.
3rd seed Simona Halep who retired in the final of Rogers Cup to Belinda Bencic was hampered by a left leg injury, cramps and heat exhaustion and stopped in the third set of the match.
While 5-th seed, and a projected QF opponent for Halep, Caroline Wozniacki is dealing with an injury of her own. She wore heavy strapping on her left calf throughout her 7-5, 7-5 defeat to Bencic on Wednesday in Toronto. Caroline also said that she was ‘’forced’’ to play by WTA.
“The rules are if you’re a top-10 player, that this was my commitment tournament, you’re forced to play,” Wozniacki said.
“If you don’t, you get huge money fines. You get zero points to your ranking … which is crazy.”
With both Halep and Caroline’s status for this tournament up in the air and having Vika Azarenka,Andrea Petkovic and Garbine Muguruza all trying to find their game before the final Grand Slam of the year starts in 2 weeks, this section may see different player names that the projected ones many are expecting.
Unfortunately, everything tennis wise is cancelled to at least 13th of July. Let's hope this corona virus goes away as soon as possible and this is the last date the tour is pushed back to. Stay safe people!
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