2017 ATP Cincinnati Preview and Predictions
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The final Masters 1000 tournament of the North American Summer is in Mason, Ohio, of course. Tennis Atlantic will have on-site coverage as most of the top ATP players perform their final tune ups prior to the 2017 US Open in New York.
Western & Southern Open
ATP World Tour Masters 1000
August 13-20, 2017
Cincinnati, OH, USA
Prize Money: $4,973,120
Top 8 seeds (who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Rafael Nadal (2)
2: Roger Federer (3)
3: Dominic Thiem (7)
4: Alexander Zverev (8)
5: Kei Nishikori (9)*
6: Milos Raonic (10)
7: Grigor Dimitrov (11)
8: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (12)
Kei Nishikori withdrew after the draw was made with an injury, he joins both of last year’s finalists Andy Murray and Marin Cilic, and of course Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka as major outs for Cincy.
First round matchups to watch:
(9)David Goffin vs. Nick Kyrgios
Kyrgios played well in Montreal and is 2-0 against Goffin. On hard court he has a great shot to pull an upset in this matchup, as Goffin isn’t setting the world on fire in terms of his form, having lost in round 2 in Montreal.
Robin Haase vs. Adrian Mannarino
Mannarino is 5-2 in his last seven matches, Haase comes off the semifinals in Montreal, as he had a fantastic week last week. Both players are playing some of the best tennis of their careers, Mannarino’s flat hitting likely gives him a slight edge.
Mischa Zverev vs. Fernando Verdasco
Zverev is struggling and has never beaten Verdasco (0-4), Verdasco is in poor form as well, so Zverev actually has a good chance to get his first career win against the Spaniard and find some confidence before the US Open.
Steve Johnson vs. David Ferrer
Johnson has lost three straight matches and has never beaten Ferrer. Playing on American hard courts, Johnson should make his best effort, but Ferrer has been finding ways to grind out wins lately.
(10)Tomas Berdych vs. Juan Martin Del Potro
These veteran big hitters have a tied h2h of 4-4, Berdych is playing well, presuming he’s fit. Del Potro has not been in great form on hard courts this summer. A healthy Berdych should be stronger than JMDP, but Del Potro could always rise to the occasion.
Rafael Nadal will face either Richard Gasquet or qualifier J.P. Smith. Nadal is a former Cincy champ and should defeat Gasquet, Big server Gilles Muller beat Ryan Harrison in round 1, either qualifier Mikhail Youzhny or Albert Ramos awaits in round 2, Nadal over Muller looks to be a sensible pick in round 3. Look for Kevin Anderson vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in round 3, Anderson faces off with qualifier Alex Dolgopolov in round 1, Anderson is 7-2 in his last two tournaments, he should beat Kyrgios or Goffin in round 2 in what would be an exciting matchup. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga should find form and beat either Ivo Karlovic or Jiri Vesely, both of whom are struggling in their own right. Anderson has a clear edge over Tsonga and should reach the quarterfinals.
Sam Querrey or Dominic Thiem look well position to take advantage of the opening in the draw left by Kei Nishikori’s injury. Thiem should improve his struggling form against Daniil Medvedev or Fabio Fognini, Querrey will be tested by Mannarino or Haase after beating Stefan Kozlov. Querrey is playing some of the best tennis of his career though, and will be favored until he reaches Thiem, where I have him pulling the upset.
Look for Ferrer to beat Johnson, then a lucky loser, before running into Mischa Zverev in round 3. After Verdasco Zverev will face Pablo Carreno Busta or Paolo Lorenzi, Carreno Busta hasn’t been fit lately, thus I tip Zverev in round 2, with Ferrer set to capitalize the most in this section.
Seven-time Cincy champ Roger Federer should brush off a finals defeat in Montreal to defeat either Diego Schwartzman or Karen Khachanov. Schwartzman rose up to make quarters in Montreal and appears to be improving. Jack Sock should beat Yuichi Sugita and either qualifier Joao Sousa or Kyle Edmund. Sousa is in great form, but Sock on hard courts with his forehand should be too much. Federer over Sock is the pick for round 3.
Hyeon Chung or a struggling Feliciano Lopez will meet Grigor Dimitrov in round 2, Dimitrov should beat the next-gen Korean before facing most likely Tomas Berdych round 3. After Del Potro it will be Mitch Krueger or Benoit Paire against Berdych. I give Dimitrov a slight advantage to reach the quarterfinals and take advantage of a big opportunity this week.
Washington and Montreal champion Alexander Zverev is red-hot, Zverev should beat either Frances Tiafoe or his countryman Max Marterer in round 2. John Isner or Donald Young await in round 3, Isner just beat Viktor Troicki while Young faces Tommy Paul. Isner with his big serve could nip Zverev, but even with the fatigue factor the young gun should reach the quarters.
Despite his awful play last week in Montreal, I have a feeling Milos Raonic can turn things around in Cincy. Borna Coric or a struggling Nikoloz Basilashvili will be his round 2 opponent, Roberto Bautista Agut should beat Jared Donaldson and then Gael Monfils (or Chris Eubanks) in round 2. Monfils lost to RBA last week in Montreal, and the Spaniard’s good form should continue. I have Raonic beating Bautista Agut in the third round.
Dark Horse: Adrian Mannarino
If Mannarino can beat Haase and Querrey he could break out in the section that is missing Nishikori. The Frenchman was excellent last week in Montreal and is playing well enough to pull off that feat and put up another great Masters performance.
Nadal d. Anderson
Querrey d. Ferrer
Raonic d. Zverev
Federer d. Dimitrov
I have Zverev running out of steam in the quarters, while Querrey should break through to Masters semi.
Nadal d. Querrey
Federer d. Raonic
Look for Nadal and Federer to battle for world #1 this week, with Federer coming out on top, largely due to his success in Cincy over the years.
Federer d. Nadal