10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Tennis News • Ricky’s Preview And Picks For Day 3 At The Western & Southern Open, Including Murray vs. Raonic

A ball girl hands tennis balls to Stefanos Tsitsipas.

By Ricky Dimon

The entire third round is on the schedule for Tuesday at the Western & Southern Open. That means Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andy Murray, and David Goffin will all be in action. And that is only to name just a handful.

Ricky previews three of the best matchups and makes his predictions.

(WC) Andy Murray vs. Milos Raonic

To say that his matchup with Murray has been unkind to Milos Raonic is still understating the case. The world No. 30 has run into Murray a dozen times in his career. He has managed to win just three times. Worse, Raonic hasn’t beaten the Scot since 2014. The good news for Raonic is that he appears to be in good form in Cincinnati. He dispatched American Sam Querrey and Britain’s Dan Evans en route to the third round. The bad news for Raonic is that Murray looks even better. The former world No. 1 took out Frances Tiafoe in the first round and No. 5 seed Alexander Zverev on Monday.

If Raonic continues to fire his serve as he has been so far this week, Murray will have his hands full on Tuesday. In his second-round win over Evans, the Canadian smacked 23 aces. Still, the matchup favors Murray and while fatigue may be a factor later in the tournament, Murray should have enough in the tank for at least one more big win.

Andy Murray of Great Britain.

Pick: Murray in 3

Jan-Lennard Struff vs. (7) David Goffin

Goffin and Struff will be squaring off for the fifth time in their careers on Tuesday. In three previous hard-court encounters, Goffin has never dropped a single set (7-0 in those sets, 3-0 in matches). But that was before the late-blooming Struff became the player he is today and the German dominated their 2019 match on the clay courts of Barcelona via a 7-6(3), 6-3 decision.

The five-month coronavirus hiatus has apparently done nothing to halt Struff’s momentum from the best year of his career in 2019. Ranked one spot off his best-ever mark (currently 34th), Struff punched his ticket to the Cincinnati third round by beating Alex de Minaur and Denis Shapovalov. Although both Struff and Goffin are excellent players on all surfaces, a lightning-quick hard court should give the big-serving underdog more of an advantage. He will be able to keep points short, which is what you want to do against a counter-punching expert like the Belgian.

Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany.

Pick: Struff in 3

(4) Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. (16) John Isner

In his second-round match, Tsitsipas completely dismantled former Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson. In fact, Anderson kept Tsitsipas on court for only an hour and eight minutes. By contrast, Isner spent almost three hours on court on Monday against John Millman to earn his spot in the third round.

Tsitispas and Isner have played three times. Isner has won two of those three encounters, but they came in 2018 and 2017 before Tsitsipas had his big breakthrough in Toronto in 2018. Since then, they’ve met once in 2019 in Beijing. The Greek secured the win in straight sets. Isner’s serve is always a factor in every match he plays. The American stands at 6’10” and possesses what is likely the single most effective shot on the ATP tour. The problem is that at his size, his movement is sometimes compromised. When his serve isn’t dead on, he is vulnerable.

Stefanos Tsitsipas of the Greece.

Pick: Tsitsipas in 2

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