We’re on to Cincinnati.
The American hard-court summer continues with the Western & Southern Open and the U.S. Open is only two weeks away. Cincinnati is a huge tournament on the schedule, as it will be the last time most of the top players in the world take the court prior to the season’s final Grand Slam. It will also finalize U.S. Open seeding, so guys just outside the top 32 will be eager to post a good result in an effort to break into seeding range.
Even the No. 1 spot is up for grabs. If Rafael Nadal wins the Cincinnati title and Daniil Medvedev loses prior to the quarterfinals, there will be a change at the top. Nadal’s return from an abdominal injury sustained at Wimbledon and his first appearance at this event since 2017 makes for plenty of intrigue even in the absence of Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev—and Roger Federer, of course. Also in the draw are Carlos Alcaraz, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Nick Kyrgios, and Montreal semifinalists Casper Ruud and Hubert Hurkacz.
Western & Southern Open
Where: Cincinnati, Ohio
Prize money: $6,280,880
Top seed: Daniil Medvedev
2021 champion: Alexander Zverev (not playing)
Draw analysis: Nadal’s draw is a favorable one through at least two matches, so he should be able to play his way into the tournament and shake off any result without too much trouble. The 36-year-old Spaniard awaits either Borna Coric or a qualifier before possibly running into countryman Roberto Bautista Agut. Felix Auger-Aliassime is a potential quarterfinal foe for Nadal, although based on current form a more likely adversary is Jannik Sinner. Both Auger-Aliassime and Sinner are in a tricky section, however, with Alex de Minaur, Pablo Carreno Busta, and Miomir Kecmanovic all close by.
Nadal and Alcaraz are on a collision course for an all-Spanish semifinal in the bottom half of the bracket. Alcaraz’s draw is a great one, although both Casper Ruud and Cameron Norrie are in fine form. Andy Murray vs. Stan Wawrinka is a notable first-round showdown between three-time Grand Slam champions in the Alcaraz section of the bracket.
The top half is deeper because of an impressive unseeded contingent. That group includes Kyrgios, Denis Shapovalov, Karen Khachanov, John Isner, Botic van de Zandschulp, Maxime Cressy, Tommy Paul, Jenson Brooksby, Brandon Nakashima, Dan Evans, and Frances Tiafoe. Medvedev will kick off his campaign against either Cressy or Van de Zandschulp and the top-ranked Russian’s next match would come against either Shapovalov, Paul, Brooksby, or Grigor Dimitrov. In other words, Medvedev maintaining the No. 1 ranking is far from a guarantee.
Hot: Casper Ruud, Jannik Sinner, Cameron Norrie, Taylor Fritz, Nick Kyrgios, Francisco Cerundolo, Maxime Cressy, Alex Molcan, Dan Evans, Alex de Minaur, Sebastian Baez, Ben Shelton
Cold: Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev, Felix
Auger-Aliassime, Diego Schwartzman, Roberto Bautista Agut, Grigor Dimitrov, John
Isner, Borna Coric, Aslan Karatsev, Holger Rune, Stan Wawrinka, Nikoloz
predictions: Taylor Fritz over Daniil Medvedev,
Brandon Nakashima over Sebastian Korda, Carlos Alcaraz over Cameron Norrie, and
Rafael Nadal over Jannik Sinner
Semifinals: Fritz over Nakashima and Nadal over Alcaraz
Final: Nadal over Fritz