Ricky’s Picks • Preview and Predictions for the Western & Southern Open • ATP Tennis From Cincinnati

Written by: on 12th August 2018
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Ricky's Picks • Preview and Predictions for the Western & Southern Open • ATP Tennis From Cincinnati

epa06880491 Roger Federer of Switzerland scores against Kevin Anderson of South Africa in their quarter final match during the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, in London, Britain, 11 July 2018. EPA-EFE/NIC BOTHMA EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO COMMERCIAL SALES  |

By Ricky Dimon

The 2018 Western & Southern Open looked like it would become the first event since Wimbledon last summer to include every member of the Big 4—Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray. Instead, it looks like the U.S. Open will now have that honor.

Cincinnati’s status changed when Nadal withdrew following his triumph at the Rogers Cup on Sunday afternoon. Still, this week’s field remains an impressive one. Federer leads the way as the second seed, with Alexander Zverev, Juan Martin Del Potro, and defending champion Grigor Dimitrov following suit.

Western & Southern Open

Where: Cincinnati, Ohio

Surface: Hard

Points: 1000

Prize money: $5,669,360

Dimitrov could use all the luck he can get right now, not only because he is in the midst of a 2018 slump but also because he has 1000 points to defend from last summer’s triumph. At first glance, Nadal’s exit from the top quarter of the draw looks like a stroke of good fortune for the Bulgarian. But he would have to reach the quarters for the world No. 1’s absence to become a factor, and that’s easier said than done. Dimitrov will open with either Mischa Zverev or Damir Dzumhur and he could face Djokovic as early as the third round. Milos Raonic is likely to be the first beneficiary of Nadal’s withdrawal, while a real opportunity could also await the winner of an intriguing R1 contest between Denis Shapovalov and Frances Tiafoe.

The rest of the top half is home to several big hitters, as Zverev, Marin Cilic, John Isner, and Sam Querrey appear poised to slug it out for a place in the semis. Isner and Querrey have to square off right off the bat, with the winner possibly to run into Toronto semifinalist Karen Khachanov (who ousted Isner to reach the quarters). Richard Gasquet, Philipp Kohlschreiber, and Toronto quarterfinalist Robin Haase are other unseeded floaters to watch in this quarter.

At the bottom of the bracket, Federer will likely cruise through his opener against either Joao Sousa or Peter Gojowyczk before things get more interesting. The Swiss is on a collision course with Murray for the last 16 and potential quarterfinal opponents include Dominic Thiem, Kei Nishikori, and Stan Wawrinka. With Thiem struggling and Wawrinka still up-and-down during his comeback, the smart money may be on Nishikori to reach the quarters.

Del Potro’s section is arguably the most wide open. Kevin Anderson is the favorite based on current form, but he could be challenged not only by Del Potro but also by David Goffin, Nick Kyrgios, Borna Coric, or Cincinnati finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas. The 20-year-old Greek, who begins his Cincinnati campaign against Goffin, has to be running on fumes. Del Potro and Kyrgios are both physical question marks and Goffin is not at his best at the moment, so the door could be especially open for Coric.

First-round upset possibility: Sam Querrey over (9) John Isner. The two Americans used to go head-to-head with frequency, but they have not faced each other since the opening week of 2016. Querrey owns a 5-2 lead in the series, including 1-0 in Cincinnati after getting the job done 6-3, 7-6(3) in 2015–also in the first round. Isner is just 1-2 in three matches since lifting the Atlanta trophy for the fifth time in his career.

Quarterfinal picks: Novak Djokovic over Kyle Edmund, Alexander Zverev over Marin Cilic, Borna Coric over Kevin Anderson, and Roger Federer over Kei Nishikori

Semifinals: Zverev over Djokovic and Federer over Coric

Final: Zverev over Federer

[Editors Note .• RF over Zverev]

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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