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Rafael Nadal of Spain in action against Denis Shapovalov of Canada during the third round of the Rogers Cup ATP men’s tennis tournament in Montreal, Canada, 10 August 2017. EPA/ANDRE PICHETTE

By Ricky Dimon

Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev are on a collision course for the Western & Southern Open semis after squaring off in the Rogers Cup final on Sunday afternoon.


The two finalists in Montreal are now making their way to Cincinnati for a second straight Masters 1000 event and they are in the same half of the bracket. Among those standing in their way of a rematch are Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov, Juan Martin Del Potro, and John Isner.


Federer is looking at a relatively tough path through the draw–certainly compared to what was on his menu at Wimbledon and in Montreal. The former world No. 1 could kick off his campaign against Karen Khachanov before possible meetings with Jack Sock and Del Potro. Zverev could run into a pair of huge servers–Isner and Raonic–prior to the semifinals.


“I’m just really happy for him, to see that he’s taking everything not just to the next level, but the two next levels–winning two Masters 1000s,” Federer said of the man who beat him 6-3, 6-4 on Sunday. “It’s extremely difficult to win. He’s won two this year. It’s a wonderful achievement for him. I wish him the best for the coming months and hope he can finish the season very strong because there [are] opportunities now.”


Zverev and others have major opportunities now with all kings top players injured. Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka are out for the season and world No. 1 Andy Murray is currently on the sidelines. So, too, are Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori. Murray’s absence means Nadal is the top seed in Cincinnati, where he is looking to get back on track following a third-round loss to Denis Shapovalov in Montreal. Nadal awaits either Richard Gasquet or John-Patrick Smith before a likely rematch with Gilles Muller, who upset the 15-time major champion in a five-set stunner at Wimbledon. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Nick Kyrgios are also part of a tough top quarter in Cincinnati.


Nishikori was a late withdrawal this week, leaving Dominic Thiem as the only top-four seed in the second section of the bracket. He could be challenged by Montreal semifinalist Robin Haase and Los Cabos winner Sam Querrey.


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