Who Will Step Up To Reach Cincy SF?
Well-known veterans and the game’s youth both will be looking to book semi-final appearances on Friday at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka will try to keep his dream run going when he faces 16th seed David Goffin of Belgium. Nishioka upset countryman and World No. 5 Kei Nishikori to make the third round, and then took care of #NextGenATP Aussie Alex de Minaur to make the quarter-finals.
Goffin is trying to make back-to-back Cincinnati semi-finals. He retired in the second set of his 2018 semi-final against Roger Federer.
In the first men’s match of the day, Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut takes on Frenchman Richard Gasquet. The Spaniard, who reached his first Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon, is looking to reach his third ATP Masters 1000 semi-final and first since the 2016 Rolex Shanghai Masters.
All but one of the top eight seeds didn’t reach the last eight in Cincinnati, but top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic remains. The World No. 1, who became the first player to win the Career Golden Masters last year in Cincinnati, takes on France’s Lucas Pouille in a rematch of their Australian Open semi-final, which Djokovic won in straight sets en route to the title.
Russian Andrey Rublev hardly looked nervous serving for the match on Thursday against Federer, the World No. 3 and seven-time Cincinnati champion. The 21-year-old, who twice competed at the Next Gen ATP Finals, will attempt to bring that same calmness against countryman and World No. 8 Daniil Medvedev, the top-ranked Russian.
Medvedev, however, has been having the stretch of his career. The 23-year-old, who played at the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in 2017, made the Citi Open final (l. to Kyrgios) and the Coupe Rogers title match (l. to Nadal) last week. This will be the Russians’ first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting.