2012 ATP Cincinnati Western and Southern Open Preview
Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
The second straight and final hard court masters event this summer kicks off tomorrow as pro tennis heads to the Midwest. Tennis East Coast looks forward to some live tournament coverage from a guest contributor. Before then, here is a preview of the Cincinnati men’s draw.
World number 1 Roger Federer will be back in action against either Alex Bogomolov or Jarkko Nieminen, a couple of veterans who haven’t been playing great recently, and then likely faces a dangerous Kohlschreiber in the third round. The winner of Harrison/Tomic is also an option. Then, he could face 10 seed and Toronto quarterfinalist Mardy Fish in the quarters.
Fish, who starts off against Feliciano Lopez and then the winner of Carlos Berlocq/Santiago Giraldo, could face a rematch with the man he beat in three sets to make the Toronto quarters, Juan Monaco. Also lurking is Radek Stepanek, who found some mojo and upset Alexandr Dolgopolov and Juan Martin Del Potro in Toronto en route to the third round. He likely faces Monaco in the second round.
4 seed David Ferrer, back in action as well, will face Stanislas Wawrinka or a qualifier in his first match and then could get a rematch with Kei Nishikori (who he lost to in the Olympics). Nishikori will face surprise Toronto quarterfinalist Marcel Granollers in the first round.
5 seed Tomas Berdych is having a miserable time off of clay. He lost his second match in Toronto against Richard Gasquet and before that two straight first round losses in London at the Wimbledon and the Olympics. Berdych will face Lukasz Kubot or a qualifier and then could face current and surprise Toronto finalist Gasquet again. The other terribly slumping top 15 player, Gilles Simon, is also in this part of the draw and will face Marcos Baghdatis.
Novak Djokovic, still in the running to repeat as Rogers Cup champion and currently a semi finalist there, will start off against either Andreas Seppi or Kitzbuhel champ Robin Haase and then could face DC Champ Alexandr Dolgopolov or Nikolay Davydenko in the third round. A qualifier or Florian Mayer are also options in what is a nice draw for the Serbian.
The other current Serbian, Toronto semifinalist, Janko Tipsarevic will face Pablo Andujar or a qualifier in the second round and then could face a rematch with the man he beat in the third round of Toronto, Marin Cilic. Cilic likely faces two qualifiers if he is to reach the third round. We could very well get another Tipsarevic vs. Djokovic semifinal match up in consecutive weeks.
Andy Murray, who is seeking to defend his Cincinnati title and had to withdraw from Toronto after suffering a knee injury during his second round match, faces a brutal draw. Murray will likely face a rejuvenated and dangerous Sam Querrey who acquitted himself well in LA as a champion, DC as a semi-finalist and Toronto, where he knocked off Kei Nishikori to make the third round. If Murray is healthy and can get through that contest, he likely faces the always dangerous Andy Roddick In the third round in what should be an electric match on American soil. Roddick will have to get through a qualifier and Julien Benneteau or Denis Istomin to set it up, though. Murray’s next opponent could be Juan Martin Del Potro or Tommy Haas.
Del Potro is back in action and opens up against either the red hot Haas or David Nalbandian. Haas just beat Nalbandian in the first round of Toronto last week en route to the quarters. This is certainly the most entertaining part of the draw.
Dark Horse: Tommy Haas
Not sure if you can call him a dark horse anymore, given how well he has played at the age of 34, and how he is back in the top 25. His success includes a title in Halle, finals in Hamburg and DC and a quarterfinal in Toronto. Given his draw, the title fits.
Haas is playing well enough to score a win over Del Potro, if Del Po is still adjusting to the hard courts. If he can earn a shot at Murray or Querrey in the quarters, he could make it all the way to the semis. The semis could find him in a rematch with Djokovic, who he played to three sets in Toronto. Anything is possible for Haas these days.
Federer d. Ferrer
Djokovic d. Murray
Djokovic d. Federer
As hard as it can be to parse Fedex, Muzz and Djoker these days, Djokovic has the advantage of adjusting to the hard courts in Toronto and is playing sharp there. He is a three-time Cincinnati finalist. Federer is a four-time champ and Murray, who might be struggling with nagging injuries, is a two-time champ. All three players have played their best in Cincy and it could go a mix of ways depending on what form they are in.