Cincinnati Masters 2015 Draw Analysis and Predictions

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The Cincinnati Masters (aka the Western and Southern Open) is the Grand Slam of the Midwest, the last stop on the road to the U.S. Open and one of the most historic events in American tennis. Needless to say, there’s plenty at stake in the 2015 edition.

See the Full Draw Here: Cincinnati Masters 2015 Draw

While action is still underway at the Rogers Cup in Toronto and Montreal, the top men and women will soon land in Mason, Ohio, to kick off a thrilling week of action at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. Because Cincinnati is the final tune-up event before the U.S. Open, it always takes on added importance as players desperately fight for momentum. And the draws this year will be absolutely loaded.

Six-time champion Roger Federer is back in action at the Western & Southern Open. The Defending champion headlines the field, though worthy challengers like Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and others are eager to steal their crowns. Andy defeated Novak to win the 2015 Rogers Cup in Montreal moving back to the No.2  spot in the ATP rankings (leapfrogged Roger).

Who will boost their chances before New York? We’ll soon have answers.

Top Half

1st Quarter – (1) Novak Djokovic & (5) Stan Wawrinka

World No.1 Novak Djokovic has Stan Wawrinka as a potential quarter-final opponent in his quest to claim the Career Golden Masters (by winning all nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments). Top seed Djokovic will bid to become the first singles player to claim the Career Golden Masters, currently holding titles at eight of the nine Masters 1000 tournaments. The Serb, who won in Indian Wells, Miami, Monte-Carlo and Rome this year (also in the finals of Rogers Cup), leads the top half of the draw and faces a stern test with a stacked quarter in his path. Fifth seed Wawrinka is a potential quarter-final opponent, with young guns David Goffin, Dominic Thiem and Borna Coric also looming. Old rivalries are renewed in the first round as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga clashes against Fernando Verdasco and Ivo Karlovic battles 10th seed Gilles Simon.

QF – (1) Novak Djokovic vs. (10) Gilles Simon – Djokovic in straight sets : Undisputed Nole should be too good for Simon; he’s won the last 8 against him.                                                   

2nd Quarter – (4) Kei Nishikori (withdrew due to hip injury) & (6) Tomas Berdych

World No.4 Kei Nishikori has pulled out of the Western & Southern Open for a second year running. The tournament announced on Sunday that the Japanese star would not be participating this year due to a hip injury.

Sixth seed Tomas Berdych and  American No.1 John Isner are potential semi-final opponents for Djokovic. Berdych saw his Masters 1000 quarter-final streak end at seven straight in Montreal (l. to Donald Young). The Czech could duel with 2013 runner-up John Isner, while Gael Monfils, Bernard Tomic and 18-year-old Jared Donaldson are potential QF opponents for the “Birdman”.

QF – (14) Gael Monfils vs. (11) John Isner – Isner in straight sets : The US No.1 has been playing great tennis this summer (11-2; winner in Atlanta; final in Washington; QF in Montreal).

Bottom Half

3rd Quarter – (3) Andy Murray & (7) Marin Cilic

Newly Crowned World No.2 & Rogers Cup Champion Andy Murray is the only other player in the draw with multiple titles at the Western & Southern Open. The two-time champion – in 2008 and ‘11 (d. Djokovic both years) – will face either 2010 runner-up Mardy Fish or Viktor Troicki in the second round, with seventh seed Marin Cilic, 12th seed Richard Gasquet and 16th seed Grigor Dimitrov also in his quarter. The Scot won his 10th Masters 1000 crown in defeating Nadal earlier this year in Madrid.

QF – (3) Andy Murray vs. (7) Marin Cilic – Murray in straight sets : Cilic should be no match for the 2-time former champion & in-form Andy.

4th Quarter – (2) Roger Federer & (8) Rafael Nadal

Roger Federer faces a tough path in his quest to successfully defend his Western & Southern Open crown, with Rafael Nadal in his quarter. The second-seeded Swiss could potentially square off against eighth seed and long-time rival Nadal in the quarter-finals, with a semi-final duel with third seed Andy Murray also looming large. Federer got the better of Murray en route to last year’s title, his sixth at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event. Cincinnati is one of six tournaments in which he has at least six titles, also including Halle (8), Wimbledon (7), Dubai (7), the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals (6) and his home event in Basel (6).

Champion in 2005, ‘07, ‘09-10, ’12 and ‘14, Federer is seeded second this year and will face either Roberto Bautista Agut or Pablo Cuevas after receiving a first-round bye. He is 3-0 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head against Bautista Agut and holds a 2-0 record against Cuevas. Nadal, meanwhile, opens his bid for a second Cincinnati title in three years against either recent Newport champion Rajeev Ram or Frenchman Jeremy Chardy. The Spaniard is looking to build on his record 27 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles. Ninth seed Milos Raonic also looms in their quarter.

QF – (2) Roger Federer vs. (8) Rafael Nadal – Roger in 3 sets : Tennis’ greatest rivalry should be back; a repeat of their classic 2013 Cincy QF (which Rafa won in 3 sets). Roger’s been playing better on the hard-courts; expect him to win this titanic tussle.

Possible SF

(1) Djokovic vs. (11) Isner – Djokovic in 3 sets : The 6ft 10in Isner is expected to be put up a tough fight for the “Serbinator”. Novak’s won the last 4 against the American (Isner won their only meeting in Cincinnati).

(2) Federer vs. (3) Murray) – Federer in 3 sets : The battle for the “World No.2 ranking” and a golden opportunity to avoid Novak until the finals at Flushing Meadows. This is a tough one to predict but given the speed of the surface; expect Roger to take home this classic (Roger will have to win the title to reclaim the No.2 ranking).

Finals

(1) Djokovic vs. (2) Federer – Djokovic in 3 sets : The Serb is way ahead of the rest of the field and anticipate him to win his 1st Cincinnati Masters after 4 runner-up finishes and complete the Career Golden Masters. Roger’s unquestionably going to show-up for the show-piece match.

What are the chances that Djokovic can win Cincinnati and complete the Career Golden Masters? Who will take home the No.2 ranking going into the 2015 US Open – Federer or Murray?? The battle begins..

STATS-METER

  • Roger is the most decorated champion at the Cincinnati Masters having won 6 times (2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014); he’s never lost a final in Cincinnati (6-0). He shares the record for the most finals in Cincinnati with his coach Stefan Edberg – 6 finals.
  • With a victory in Ohio, Federer will join Rafa as the only player to win 7 or more titles at the same Masters event (Rafa’s won 8 in Monte Carlo & 7 in Rome).
  • Andy Murray returns to World No. 2 in the Emirates ATP Rankings after downing Kei Nishikori in the Montreal SF. With the win, the 28 year old is projected to move ahead of Roger Federer for World No. 2 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday, entering the Top 2 for the first time since August 2013.
  • On Monday, Murray will return to No. 2 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time since the week of Aug. 12, 2013. It will be the 19th week overall Murray ranks No. 2. He first became No. 2 on Aug. 17, 2009 and was there for four weeks. He regained No. 2 on May 13, 2013 and held that spot for 14 consecutive weeks. Murray is also the second player, after Djokovic, to qualify for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. It will be the eighth consecutive year Murray has qualified for the season finale (did not play in 2013). He has a 10-9 career record, reaching the semi-finals in 2008, 2010 and 2012. This is the second time Murray enters Cincinnati at No. 2. Two years ago he fell in the Round of 16 (bye, d. Granollers, l. to Gulbis).

 

 

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