2018 ATP Cincinnati Features the Return of Roger Federer and a Nadal/Djokovic Quarter
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The 2018 Cincinnati Masters is the final Masters 1000 of the Summer hard court season and the primary US Open prep for most of the ATP’s best. Here is your look at all the action in Mason, Ohio this week.
Rafael Nadal is in the Rogers Cup final and playing great right now, however fitness could be a concern. He’ll start against a qualifier or Milos Raonic, I like Raonic to pull the upset simply because Rafa should be in need of a rest after Toronto. Look for wild card Frances Tiafoe to benefit in a big way here. Tiafoe has to get past Denis Shapovalov first, but presuming he does that Kyle Edmund/Mackenzie McDonald is beatable right now, and Raonic just lost to Tiafoe in Canada. Look for Tiafoe to emerge as an unlikely quarterfinalist.Embed from Getty Images
Novak Djokovic looks set to ease past Steve Johnson and Adrian Mannarino/Marco Cecchinato. While Djokovic disappointed in Toronto he still looks healthy and focused, that should help him defeat Grigor Dimitrov in the third round after Dimitrov defeats Damir Dzumhur/Mischa Zverev.Embed from Getty Images
Alexander Zverev has had a good summer and it would be made better if he could win Cincy. The young German will start against an in-form Robin Haase or Filip Krajinovic, with most likely Pablo Carreno Busta waiting on deck. Richard Gasquet returns from injury vs. PCB while Max Marterer or a qualifier await in round 2. This is Zverev’s section to lose.Embed from Getty Images
Marin Cilic is playing well, he should defeat Philipp Kohlschreiber or a qualifier, and then John Isner or the Toronto semifinalist Karen Khachanov to reach the quarterfinals. Isner faces Sam Querrey first, while Khachanov drew a struggling Albert Ramos. Cilic over Isner is my pick as Khachanov should be fatigued.Embed from Getty Images
Del Potro’s Quarter:Embed from Getty Images
Juan Martin Del Potro drew either Hyeon Chung or Jack Sock first. That would normally be a tough matchup but under current circumstances JMDP is a heavy favorite as Chung is still rusty and Sock is in the worst form of his career. I’ll back Borna Coric over a qualifier and a struggling Nick Kyrgios/qualifier to reach the third round before falling to Del Potro.
Toronto finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas is slated to face David Goffin first, while the player he defeated in the semis, Kevin Anderson, is in the same section. If Tsitsipas plays I’ll back him to beat a struggling Goffin and then Benoit Paire or a soon to retire David Ferrer before Anderson gets his revenge and wins in round 3. Anderson has to get past Jeremy Chardy/Fernando Verdasco to reach that point.Embed from Getty Images
Federer’s Quarter:Embed from Getty Images
Roger Federer returns to tour and should breeze past Joao Sousa/Peter Gojowczyk before facing Andy Murray round 3. Expect Murray to put up a fight after beating Lucas Pouille and Leonardo Mayer/qualifier, but he shouldn’t be at the level yet to beat Federer.
I’ll back Andrey Rublev to upset Kei Nishikori in round 1, as Nishikori was poor in Toronto. Diego Schwartzman should benefit, I’ll back DSS to defeat Stan Wawrinka and then Rublev to reach round 3 opposite Dominic Thiem. Thiem is struggling and should be on upset alert against Marton Fucsovics/qualifier. I’ll back Schwartzman or Rublev to win the section.Embed from Getty Images
Djokovic d. Tiafoe
Zverev d. Cilic
Anderson d. Del Potro
Federer d. Schwartzman
Zverev should perform well this week while Anderson, Federer, and Djokovic have the inside track to reach the semis.
Zverev d. Djokovic
Federer d. Anderson
This is Federer’s tournament to lose but Zverev or Djokovic should challenge him in the end.
Federer d. Zverev
WESTERN & SOUTHERN OPEN SEEDS ANNOUNCED
Serena, Venus, Sharapova, Djokovic, Murray and Wawrinka Among Players Without First Round Bye
CINCINNATI (August 6, 2018) — The Western & Southern Open has announced the seeds for its 2018 tournament, which will take place August 11-19 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio.
The seeds, which are based on today’s rankings from the respective tennis tours, are headlined by the No. 1 ranked players on both the ATP World Tour – Rafael Nadal – and the WTA – Simona Halep. Sixteen players from each 56-player field are seeded, with the top eight seeds receiving first round byes.
Based on their current ranking, a number of veteran players who have frequently enjoyed a bye will not have that benefit this year and will have to play a first round match. For the women’s players, the opening round takes place Monday and Tuesday, while the men’s first round is played over three days, from Sunday until Tuesday.
Those players who will not have a bye include, to name a few, two-time W&S Open champion Serena Williams, 2011 champion Maria Sharapova, 2013 winner Victoria Azarenka, 2016 champion Karolina Pliskova and seven-time Major champion Venus Williams from the WTA.
Five-time W&S Open finalist and reigning Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic, two-time Cincinnati winner Andy Murray, three-time Major champion Stan Wawrinka, 2017 W&S Open finalist Nick Kyrgios and the top-ranked American, John Isner, are among the ATP stars who will be in action early in the week.
Below are the 16 seeds for each draw (italics indicates a player with a first-round bye):
Seed/Rank Player (Country)
1/1 Simona Halep (Romania)
2/2 Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark)
3/3 Sloane Stephens (USA)
4/4 Angelique Kerber (Germany)
5/5 Elina Svitolina (Ukraine)
6/6 Caroline Garcia (France)
7/7 Garbiñe Muguruza (Spain)
8/8 Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic)
9/9 Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic)
10/10 Julia Goerges (Germany)
11/11 Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia)
12/12 Daria Kasatkina (Russia)
13/13 Madison Keys (USA)
14/14 Venus Williams (USA)
15/15 Elise Mertens (Belgium)
16/16 Ashleigh Barty (Australia)
ATP World Tour
Seed/Rank Player (Country)
1/1 Rafael Nadal (Spain)
2/2 Roger Federer (Switzerland)
3/3 Alexander Zverev (Germany)
4/4 Juan Martin del Potro (Argentina)
5/5 Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria)
6/6 Kevin Anderson (South Africa)
7/7 Marin Cilic (Croatia)
8/8 Dominic Thiem (Austria)
9/9 John Isner (USA)
10/10 Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
11/11 David Goffin (Belgium)
12/12 Diego Schwartzman (Argentina)
13/13 Pablo Carreño Busta (Spain)
14/14 Fabio Fognini (Italy)
15/15 Roberto Bautista Agut (Spain)
16/16 Kyle Edmund (Great Britain)
These seeds are subject to change should there be any changes in the entry list this week.
Twelve women and seven men will complete the fields through the two-round qualifying tournament which will take place Aug. 11-12.
Tickets for all sessions, including the early round matches on Monday and Tuesday are on sale now. The available inventory also includes brand new premium seating areas in the just-built South Building. More information on tickets can be found at shop.cincytennis.com.
Summer Recap: Best 2017 Tennis Tournament Improvement Was Rhinegeist Beer Balcony at Cincy Tennis
Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic
Now that the hangover from the most interesting US open in years is over, it’s time to reflect on what we did this summer. While some memories are a little fuzzy, one thing is clear: there’s only one thing I love more than tennis and that’s craft beer. Craft beer’s introduction to the sports market has been slow and steady for the most part. Major League Baseball found success in serving local craft beer to baseball fans who then became fans of the suds. Most of the other major sports have followed suit in offering local creations to their fan base, but tennis has been too slow to the craft beer game. I was happy when Holy City Brewing of Charleston brewed a beer for the Volvo Car Open in Charleston, but I’d never seen a full-blown craft beer zone at a tournament until I stumbled into the Rhinegeist Brew Balcony. Alright, I didn’t stumble in.
Marissa Beck is Director of Strategic Partnerships for Rhinegeist Brewing, which means she ensures that Cincy’s biggest craft brewer gets its products in the hands of sport fans and event attendees. “It’s one of those things,” she said. “We really wanted to give tennis fans a place where they can go and try a lot of our really good local beers.” The Truth IPA is their flagship brand, but they had 6 other choices waiting for you. At a tennis tournament!
To drink a Peach Gose at a Masters 1000 was heaven on earth. Among the other fantastic choices, Bubbles Rosé Ale with peaches and cranberries was perfect for the heat and humidity of Cincinnati and the Randy Radler beer mixed with grapefruit juice did the trick as well.
If you wanted to hit some balls at the tournament, you could’ve tried the tennis-themed ping-pong tables. Ping-pong is huge at the mother ship brewery.
“The tournament is known for its food, so we want to make sure we can live up to our Cincinnati standards,” Beck said. “We’re from Cincinnati. This is where our brewery is. And there are so many people who come from out of town, so let’s give them a taste of real Cincy beer.”
The brewery, located downtown in Over-The-Rhine, is a massive facility with a rooftop deck and an impressive view. I visited the brewery on a Saturday night and I can tell you that the view from the Rhinegeist Brew Balcony was even better. It overlooked Practice Court 6 at the Western & Southern Open, better known as the practice “show court”. Rafael Nadal held hits there as well as Dominic Thiem and Sascha Zverev. While hundreds stood by court side or climbed to the top of the grandstand bleachers to catch a glimpse of the action, Rhinegeist visitors got the best view of all without having to leave their table or their brew.
“We’ve got a lot of people who are stopping in here and then going downtown to check out the brewery,” Beck said. “We’re trying to get our delicious suds out any way we can.” Well played, Rheingeist. Well played.
Grigor Dimitrov Wins Maiden Masters Title in Cincinnati
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
It took a while, but 26 year old Grigor Dimitrov looks to finally be coming good on his promise as a player. He won his first Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati, and seventh career title overall 6-3 7-5 over Nick Kyrgios. Dimitrov has three titles this season and was dominant on serve in the final against Kyrgios. He only faced two break points, and won over 85% of his service points. Kyrgios had a great run this week though, a complete turnaround from his form earlier this summer, where he looked glum and out of focus. David Goffin, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Ivo Karlovic, Rafael Nadal, and David Ferrer were his victims this week, his win over Nadal one of the biggest of his career, and his consistency much improved from what was expected. Ahead of the US Open Kyrgios is looking like a dark horse.
Dimitrov is one of the favorites at this point though, he’s been at his most consistent this year on tour than ever before in his career. He defeated Feliciano Lopez and Juan Martin Del Potro in straights, then Yuichi Sugita and John Isner in the same fashion to reach the final. None of his opposition was elite this week, but with so many players out or struggling for the upcoming US Open, Dimitrov could make a deep run without having the toughest of matches.
Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut defeated Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares in the doubles final.
Sock, Goffin, Berdych, Ostapenko, Radwanska Upset at @CincyTennis
It didn’t take long to get things moving on a hot and muggy day at the Western & Southern Open. Five big names went down yesterday, but the biggest stars remain in contention heading into the latter part of the tournament.
Juan Martin del Potro had the fan support and the support of 17 aces as he came back from the brink to win against 10 seed Tomas Berdych, 3-6, 7-6(1), 6-0. Speaking of aces, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was sprayed by 19 of them from Ivo Karlovic en route to the big man’s 6-4, 7-6(9) tiebreak win. Delpo plays qualifier Mitchell Krueger on Grandstand this afternoon.
Grand slam champion Jelena Ostapenko was forced to play a match on far-flung Court 8, perhaps the most obscure court of all at the tournament. While non-slam winners like Radwanska, Cibulkova, Konjuh and Goerges got show court match ups, Ostapenko got Court 8. And she got Krunic, the qualifier who upset her 6-4, 6-2. Krunic gets Suarez Navarro later today.
Aga Radwanska got a show court, but Julia Goerges was the one who put on the show in a 6-4, 6-4 routining. The German faces Canadian Francoise Abanda next.
David Goffin was no match at all for the plucky Nick Kyrgios. The Aussie breezed past 9 seed Goffin, 6-2, 6-3. Kyrgios meets Dolgopolov next.
Jack Sock was sent off early with a fine performance by Yuichi Sugita on Center Court, 7-5, 6-4. Sugita advanced to face qualifier Joao Sousa tonight.
And of course tonight is the night of Rafael Nadal, who opens his campaign against Richard Gasquet. More heat and humidity in store today, but the real sizzle is the on-court action.
Big Guns Out Tuesday after Monday Action at @CincyTennis
Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic
Yesterday was press day at the Western & Southern Open, so that meant off-court distractions to hear words from the mouths of the elite of the sport. Nadal, Thiem, Pliskova, Halep and others sat down for round table chats with the media.
The action on court saw Petra Kvitova with a comeback win over Anett Kontaveit, 1-6, 7-6(2), 6-3. The crowd gasped in the first set, with the former Wimbledon champion struggling to find her form. And she did just enough to get through to Stephens or Safarova in the next round.
Tommy Paul had just another day at the office in his Summer of Tommy tour, relegating Donald Young to yet another first round loss in Cincinnati. The 6-4, 7-6(4) win earns Paul a match against Isner tonight.
Frances Tiafoe quickly ended the dream qualifying run by Germany’s Maximilian Marterer, 6-3, 7-6(2) and was in great spirits after the match, joking with fans and giving away $39 official tournament towels. Sascha Zverev awaits in Round 2.
Kiki Bertens had no trouble as she stormed past Oceane Dodin, 6-3, 6-0 on Grandstand yesterday in a sparsely-attended match. Up next for Bertens is a match against #7 seed Jo Konta.
Evening play saw lucky loser Ramkumar Ramanthan advance over Christopher Eubanks in three sets and Madison Keys winning a Stanford final rematch over Coco Vandeweghe in three sets.
Off court, Rafael Nadal revealed he’s still a little sore from that loss against Shapovalov in Montreal and when asked what advice he’d give Dominic Thiem, he replied, “I’d better not.”
Garbine Muguruza is easily the most genuine and emotive player in the top 10 of anything. She talked about the emotions that raced through her at Wimbledon this year, as well as avoiding social media due to trolls. “The ones who love me today will hate me tomorrow,” she said, following up with “I don’t have to read this.” Later, she spoke about the close rankings race and the need to compete every week on tour. “Shit. I gotta play. I’ll be #25 if I skip one,” she said to a room full of journalists enraptured by her refreshing honesty and affability.
We’re heating up today, with Muguruza, Simona Halep, Venus Williams, Jack Sock and Dominic Thiem lined up for a long day of tennis.
ORDER OF PLAY – TUESDAY, AUGUST 15, 2017
CENTER start 11:00 am
ATP – Juan Martin del Potro (Argentina) vs  Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic)
Not Before 1:00 pm
WTA –  Venus Williams (USA) vs Alison Riske (USA)
ATP –  Jack Sock (USA) vs Yuichi Sugita (Japan)
Night Session – start 7:00 pm
ATP –  John Isner (USA) vs [WC] Tommy Paul (USA)
Not Before 8:30 pm
WTA –  Garbiñe Muguruza (Spain) vs [Q] Beatriz Haddad Maia (Brazil)
GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
WTA – Aana Konjuh (Croatia) vs  Dominika Cibulkova (Slovakia)
ATP – Steve Johnson (USA) vs David Ferrer (Spain)
Not Before 2:00 pm
WTA – [Q] Taylor Townsend (USA) vs  Simona Halep (Romania)
Not Before 7:00 pm
WTA – [WC] Sloane Stephens (USA) vs Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic)
ATP –  Dominic Thiem (Austria) vs Fabio Fognini (Italy)
STADIUM 3 start 11:00 am
ATP –  David Goffin (Begium) vs Nick Kyrgios (Australia)
Not Before 1:00 pm
WTA – Julia Goerges (Germany) vs  Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland)
ATP – [WC] Jared Donaldson (USA) vs  Roberto Bautista Agut (Spain)
WTA –  Johanna Konta (GBR) vs Kiki Bertens (Netherlands)
Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP – Ivo Karlovic (Croatia) vs  Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France)
COURT 10 start 11:00 am
ATP – Kevin Anderson (South Africa) vs [Q] Alexadr Dolgopolov (Ukraine)
WTA – Alize Cornet (France) vs Catherine Bellis (USA)
ATP –  Pablo Carreno Busta (Spain) vs Paolo Lorenzi (Italy)
WTA – Elena Vesnina (Russia) vs Caroline Garcia (France)
WTA – Ekaterina Makarova (Russia) vs Barbora Strycova (Czech Republic)
COURT 4 start 11:00 am
WTA – [Q] Ashleigh Barty (Australia) vs [Q] Varvara Lepchenko (USA)
ATP – Albert Ramos-Vinolas (Spain) vs [Q] Mikhail Youzhny (RUS)
ATP – Robin Haase (Netherlands) vs Adrian Mannarino (France)
WTA – [Q] Francoise Abanda (CAN) vs [Q] Magda Linette (Poland)
COURT 7 start 11:00 am
WTA – Kristina Mladenovic (France) / Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) vs  Lucie Hradecka (Czech Republic) / Katerina Siniakova (Czech Republic)
WTA –  Timea Babos (Hungary) / Andrea Hlavackova (Czech Republic) vs Anna-Lena Groenefeld (Germany) / Kveta Peschke (Czech)
WTA – Daria Gavrilova (Australia) / Daria Kasatkina (Russia) vs Nadiia Kichenok (Ukraine) / Anastasia Rodionova (Australia)
WTA –  Ashleigh Barty (Australia) / Casey Dellacqua (Australia) vs [WC] Alexa Glatch (USA) / Catherine McNally (USA)
WTA – Chia-Jung Chuang (Chinese Tapei) / Renatal Voracova (Czech Republic) vs Raquel Atawo (USA) / CoCo Vandeweghe (USA)
COURT 8 start 11:00 am
ATP – Diego Schwartzman (Argentina) vs Karen Khachanov (Russia)
WTA –  Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia) vs [Q] Aleksandra Krunic (Serbia)
ATP – Nikoloz Basilashvili (Georgia) vs Borna Coric (Croatia)
ATP – Ryan Harrison (USA) / Michael Venus (NZL) vs  Oliver Marach (Austria) / Mate Pavic (Crotia)
COURT 11 start 11:00 am
WTA – [Q] Donna Vekic (Croatia) vs [LL] Natalia Vikhlyantseva (Russia)
WTA –  Anastasija Sevastova (Latvia) vs Shuai Peng (China)
ATP – Leander Paes (India) / Alexander Zverev (Germany) vs Feliciano Lopez (Spain) / Marc Lopez (ESP)
ATP – Nikola Mektic (Croatia) / Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi (Pakistan) vs Diego Schwartzman (Argentia) / Mischa Zverev (Germany)
WTA- After Suitable Rest – Gabriela Dabrowski (Canada) / Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia) vs Kiki Bertens (Netherlands) / Kristen Flipkens (Belgium)