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Race for No. 4 seed at U.S. Open–and other spots–is on at Cincinnati Masters

The 2023 U.S. Open draw ceremony will be held next week, which means seeding for last major of the year will be finalized following this week’s tournament in Cincinnati. As always, Cincinnati is paramount not only in its own right as a 1000-point event but also because of the ramifications it can have on the U.S. Open.

Heading into the Western & Southern Open second round on Wednesday, here are the important battles for ranking and U.S. Open seeding.

No. 1

Carlos Alcaraz will remain in the top spot of the ATP rankings no matter what if he makes it to the final. Novak Djokovic will pass Alcaraz if the 36-year-old captures the title and Alcaraz loses prior to the final. If Alcaraz loses before the semis, Djokovic will surpass him for No. 1 if he reaches the final.

No. 4

This battle is the biggest of all when it comes to U.S. Open importance. Whoever is fourth is the highest seed in his respective quarter of the draw and avoids facing Alcaraz, Djokovic, and Daniil Medvedev until at least the SFs.

Holger Rune, Casper Ruud, Jannik Sinner, and Stefanos Tsitsipas are the four players in contention for this all-important spot. Rune is currently in position and will be No. 4 if he equals or betters the result of the other three. Ruud will overtake Rune if the three-time slam runner-up advances farther in the event. Sinner must reach at least the QFs to have a chance; if he does, any result better than Rune’s and Ruud’s would be enough. If Rune wins just a single match in Cincinnati, Tsitsipas would have to reach at least the final to have a shot.

No. 16

Cameron Norrie, who lost in the first round, is 16th right now. Lorenzo Musetti will pass Norrie if he reaches the QFs. Both Hubert Hurkacz and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina would have to reach the title match.

No. 24

Tallon Griekspoor, who lost in the first round, is currently 24th. Both Borna Coric (the defending Cincinnati champion) and Adrian Mannarino would pass Griekspoor by advancing to the QFs. Mannarino must better Coric’s result to overtake the Croat. Ugo Humbert must reach at least the SFs. Lorenzo Sonego, Mackenzie McDonald, Yoshihito Nishioka, Ben Shelton, Alexei Popyrin, and Stan Wawrinka would have to make a final appearance.

No. 32

Tomas Martin Etcheverry, who lost in the first round, is No. 32 as it currently stands. Sonego would overtake Etcheverry by reaching the QFs. McDonald, Nishioka, Shelton, Popyrin, and Wawrinka have to reach the semis to have a chance. Emil Ruusuvuori, Dusan Lajovic, and Max Purcell have to reach the final.

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