Cincinnati Masters Draw Preview And Analysis

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At the time of writing, the Cincinnati draw has not been hit as much as Toronto, with only Rafael Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga the absentees from the top ten. However, it would be very surprising if there were no more before the second round begins on Tuesday. Nicolas Almagro, Gael Monfils and Fernando Verdasco are still carrying the injuries that saw them unable to compete in Canada this past week.

Having only made the quarter finals last year, world No.1 Roger Federer will be looking for improvement and a chance to extend his lead atop the rankings. Looking at his quarter he would be very disappointed if he cannot at least match his performance from last year. His second round clash will be against one of two players who are both in disappointing form. Alex Bogomolov has won just nine matches this year while Jarkko Niemenen has performed poorly in defeats to the likes of Nikolay Davydenko, Jan Hajek and Lukasz Kubot in recent weeks. In what will be an intriguing battle between two of the youngest players in the top 100, Ryan Harrison takes on Bernard Tomic. Both have had fairly average years with Tomic struggling massively on the clay and Harrison dropping his last three matches in recent weeks. In a rematch of their 2012 Wimbledon encounter, Brian Baker takes on Philipp Kohlschreiber. The American wildcard seems to have fallen back down to earth after his impressive run to the fourth round as a qualifier there while Kohlschreiber should be fresh having skipped the Olympics.

Eighth seed Juan Monaco is the expected quarter final opponent for Federer if the seedings go to plan. While generally thought of as a clay courter, Monaco is beginning to show more consistency on other surfaces and was a Miami semi finalist earlier in the year. He could face Radek Stepanek in round two who this week in Toronto has already taken the scalps of Alexandr Dolgopolov and Juan Martin Del Potro, although their fitness levels after long weeks were at question. Stepanek takes on the Spaniard Albert Ramos. Ramos has notable hard court victories over Feliciano Lopez and Richard Gasquet this year. Mardy Fish is the other seed left in this quarter and will be confident of making quarter finals, having defeated Monaco just this week in Toronto. He plays Feliciano Lopez and currently holds a 4-3 record over the Spaniard, but more notably has won four of the last five encounters. South Americans Carlos Berlocq and Santiago Giraldo round off the draw, Giraldo leads the head to head having won both of their encounters and will be likely favoured to go through due to his greater hard court credentials.

Without Rafael Nadal in the draw, there is always the potential for a more open quarter and a shock to the usual top four that dominate the Masters tournaments. While David Ferrer has shown great improvement in the past few years, there are a number of potentially explosive players that could blow the draw open later on. Either a qualifier or Stanislas Wawrinka will be up first for the Spaniard, Wawrinka has lost his last four matches but has had a fairly solid season on the whole. Ferrer has defeated Wawrinka the last four times they have competed including in Cincinnati in 2009. James Blake, finalist in 2007, takes on the big serving Kevin Anderson for the chance to take on Kei Nishikori. The Japanese star impressed in the Olympics defeating David Ferrer in three sets and has a chance to do so again if he was to make the third round. He faces Marcel Granollers in the first round hoping to extend his record to 2-0 over the Spaniard, having defeated him in Stockholm in 2008.

Having succumbed tamely to Richard Gasquet this week in Toronto, Tomas Berdych will be looking for improvements in his fortunes and should be fairly happy with his first round draw. The Czech will play either Lukasz Kubot or a qualifier. Instant revenge is possible for Berdych, with a potential third round tie with Richard Gasquet in the offing. In what is an incredibly tough opening tie, the Frenchman takes on Canada’s Milos Raonic. Boasting one of the most dominant serves on tour, he will take some beating but Gasquet has the skill to take advantage on a good day. Gilles Simon takes on Marcos Baghdatis for the chance to play the winner of what is probably the match of the first round. Simon is in somewhat of a slump since the French Open while Baghdatis can trouble the very best but often struggles to maintain it for a long enough period of time.

Tommy Haas faces David Nalbandian for the second time in two weeks for the opportunity to take on Juan Martin Del Potro, presuming the big Argentinian does not withdraw as many expect. Haas blew multiple match points in the second set vs Nalbandian before winning the third set comfortably. In the midst of a tiring week in Toronto, John Isner could struggle and Viktor Troicki has the game to pull it off against Isner on an off day, as shown by his victory in Canada last year. Lleyton Hewitt, a wildcard here, has improved recently and even made the final in Newport. Mikhail Youzhny should still be too strong but don’t expect the Australian to give it up without a fight.

After two titles in two months, Andy Roddick is answering back to the critics who suggested the American’s career was nearing the end. He will face a qualifier in the opener with a potential round two tie against either Julien Benneteau or Denis Istomin. Roddick will hope to improve on the performance last time he faced Istomin if it comes to it, the Uzbek was always in control and eased to a straight sets victory. In another repeated tie from Toronto, Sam Querrey plays Jurgen Melzer. While Melzer often deals well with big servers, it was easy for the American who dropped just five games on the way to the next round. The winner is slated to take on reigning champion Andy Murray, who perhaps will be put off withdrawing by the need to defend the 1000 points he acquired last year. If both stay fit, the possible Del Potro-Murray match will be extremely interesting. The pair’s newly found confidence from their Olympics successes makes them genuine threats for the US Open title.

Janko Tipsarevic will be pleased with his draw too with three qualifiers being potential opponents in the second and third rounds. The first qualifier is against the Spaniard Pablo Andujar. While not taking the match, Andujar acquitted himself well and was never really outplayed in his recent encounter with John Isner. The second qualifier takes on the still slumping Donald Young, now 2-19 for the season. If fortunate enough to end his losing streak, Young will likely face Marin Cilic who faces a qualifier too. This section looks fairly weak it is hard to see past Cilic and Tipsarevic meeting each other later in the draw. Cilic leads the head to head 6-2 but more importantly, he has lost two of the last three encounters.

Last years losing finalist Novak Djokovic begins his tournament with either Robin Haase or Andreas Seppi. Haase managed to defend his Kitzbuhel crown a few weeks back but has otherwise been inconsistent, especiallly on the hard courts. Seppi has also had a strong season but on hard courts has been defeated by Roberta Bautista Agut and Vasek Pospisil this year. Wimbledon quarter finalist Florian Mayer also draws a yet to be named qualifier. In what should be an exciting encounter Nikolay Davydenko and Alexandr Dolgopolov round off the draw. Davydenko took the win in the only match they’ve played but Dolgopolov is in great form and picked up the Citi Open title last week.

In addition to the rest of the draw, there are spots for seven qualifiers. Frenchman Jeremy Chardy is top seed in the 28 man draw with Grigor Dimitrov, Fabio Fognini, David Goffin and Alejandro Falla are notable names included. Wildcards have been handed out to former US Open semi finalist Robby Ginepri, mixed doubles champion Jack Sock, Rajeev Ram and the younger brother of Ryan, Christian Harrison.

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