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Ricky’s Preview And Pick For The Cincinnati ATP Tennis Final: Medvedev vs. Goffin

Photo by @CincyTennis via Twitter

By Ricky Dimon

No Novak Djokovic. No Rafael Nadal. No Roger Federer…. No problem?

Based on current form and their most recent head-to-head showdown, a Western & Southern Open final between Daniil Medvedev and David Goffin should be particularly entertaining–no matter that it is extremely unexpected.

Medvedev and Goffin will be facing each other for the third time in their careers and for the third time this season when they meet again on Sunday afternoon. An Australian Open third-round encounter went Medvedev’s way 6-2, 7-6(3), 6-3 before Goffin survived a 4-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 thriller in the Wimbledon third round.

Despite that setback, it has been an unbelievable summer for the 23-year-old Russian. He is up to eighth in the world and will be fifth in the race to London on Monday–a virtual lock to make his debut appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals. Mevedev reached the semifinal at Queen’s Club prior to Wimbledon and his current hot stretch features three finals in as many weeks: Washington, D.C. (lost to Nick Kyrgios), Montreal (lost to Rafael Nadal), and now Cincinnati. He has advanced in Cincinnati with victories over Kyle Edmund, Benoit Paire, Jan-Lennard Struff, Andrey Rublev, and Novak Djokovic–surrendering a set only to Djokovic.

“To be honest, I don’t know how I did it,” said the No. 9 seed. “I was so tired in the first set and playing Novak I thought I wasn’t able to keep the intensity. Then the one momentum change in the second set was the difference. The crowd gave me so much energy.”

While Medvedev is through to his second Masters 1000 final in two weeks, Goffin will be playing in his first-ever Masters 1000 final. The 19th-ranked Belgian has been both lucky and good in the Queen City, benefiting from a spot in the wide-open bottom half of the draw in addition to getting a quarterfinal walkover from an ill Yoshihito Nishioka. Goffin has knocked off an in-form Taylor Fritz (three sets), Guido Pella (who beat him in Montreal), Adrian Mannarino, and surprise semifinalist Richard Gasquet. The 28-year-old has also dropped just one set.

“Unfortunately Nishioka could not play yesterday and I had just a small hit,” Goffin said after routing Gasquet 6-3, 6-4. “It was almost a day off, so I was fresh and physically 100 percent today to play against Richard. I was lucky and managed to play some good tennis and managed my emotions…. I’m really happy. It’s a tournament I like and I’ve played the best tennis here in the past few years. I’m really happy to reach my first Masters 1000 final here. It’s a great moment for me.”

It is perhaps an even bigger moment for Medvedev on Sunday, even though he knows–perhaps all too well after getting blown out by Nadal last Sunday–what this stage is like. Unlike against Nadal and Kyrgios, Medvedev is the obvious favorite in this one as the hottest player on tour and the higher-ranked player. That will create pressure, as will the fact that he is 1-4 in ATP title matches this year.

An upset could be in the cards for a well-rested Goffin,

Pick: Goffin in 3

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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