10 Things To Watch In Cincinnati
Andy Murray returns to singles action for the first time since January
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer headline the Western & Southern Open, featuring nine of the Top 10 in the ATP Rankings. Here’s 10 things to watch in Cincinnati.
1. Reunited: Three of the Big Four: Djokovic, Federer and Andy Murray will compete together in the singles draw at the Western & Southern Open, which was held in 1899. Murray, the 2008 and 2011 winner, received a wild card to join defending champion Djokovic and seven-time former titlist Federer at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Cincinnati.
2. Roger That: Federer is 45-5 since starting his career 1-4 in Cincinnati. The Swiss star’s seven Cincinnati titles are a tournament record. Federer is looking for his first ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati title since 2015, when he beat Djokovic in the final; Djokovic reversed that result in last year’s championship match.
3. Complete Set: Djokovic’s win over Federer in last year’s final allowed the Serb to collect the one ATP Masters 1000 title he had been missing, and become the first singles player to win all nine of the events in the series. Djokovic had been 0-5 in Cincinnati finals before his victory last season.
4. More Murray: Following a first-round singles loss at the Australian Open, Murray underwent his second hip surgery on 28 January. The Brit missed five months of play but returned to doubles action at London/Queen’s Club, where he promptly won the title partnering Feliciano Lopez. After four more doubles events, two-time Cincinnati champion Murray is back in singles action.
5. Former Champs: Two other previous winners of the Western & Southern Open are in the field: Marin Cilic, who defeated Murray in the 2016 final, and Grigor Dimitrov, who beat Nick Kyrgios in the 2017 final. These are the only ATP Masters 1000 titles to date for both former World No. 3s.
6. Americans in Cincy: Andy Roddick was the last homegrown champion in Cincinnati, triumphing over Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero in the 2006 final. Since then, James Blake (2007), Mardy Fish (2010) and John Isner (2013) have all finished runner-up at the Masters 1000 tournament. Isner, who finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal, has a 15-11 record at the event, including a 2017 semi-final run (l. to Dimitrov).
7. Move Towards Milan: The #NextGenATP is in full force at Cincinnati, headed by 20-year-old No. 5 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and Felix Auger-Aliassime, who turned 19 on Thursday. The Cincinnati main draw includes other top contenders in the Race to the Next Gen ATP Finals at Milan, such as 20-year-olds Alex de Minaur and Denis Shapovalov and 21-year-old Frances Tiafoe.
8. Winning Thiem: No. 4 seed Dominic Thiem added his name to the list of ATP Masters 1000 titlists when he captured the Indian Wells trophy in March. No. 10 seed Fabio Fognini also became a first-time ATP Masters 1000 champion this season after triumphing at Monte-Carlo in April.
9. Wild Ones: Two of 2019’s 13 first-time ATP Tour singles champions received wild cards alongside Murray this week: Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Londero, who claimed his first title on home soil at Cordoba, and Reilly Opelka, who triumphed in his home country at the New York Open. Sam Querrey received a wild card as well; Querrey reached his third Wimbledon quarter-final in July.
10. Double Up: Cincinnati features another stellar 2019 doubles draw, headlined by No. 1 seeds and Wimbledon champions Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah taking on Kyrgios and Tsitsipas in the first round – a rematch of their first-round clash at Washington, won by the Colombians. Murray and Lopez are also together in the field, as are five-time champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan.