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Cincinnati ATP Preview: Djokovic goes After Third Title in Cincinnati

No. 1 Alcaraz Eyeing First Cincinnati Title

Will an American Make It to the Final for First Time Since 2013?

After taking last week off, a well-rested Novak Djokovic is back to a familiar tournament as he is a five-time finalist and two-time champion in Cincinnati. It is not a surprise that he is listed by the tennis predictions as one of the favorites heading into the Western & Southern Open.

He is 33-5 this season and hasn’t played since the classic showdown with Carlos Alcaraz at Wimbledon.

Cincinnati ATP Preview: Djokovic goes After Third Title in Cincinnati
Carlos Alcaraz of Spain hits a shot against Tommy Paul / Vaughn ridley/getty images/afp

Speaking of the Wimbledon champion, Alcaraz will be the top seed in the tournament.

Djokovic is not the only former champion who is seeded in this tournament. Daniil Medvedev, the 2019 champion, is seeded third with 2021 champ Alexander Zverev seeded 16th.

Even with all three Americans falling in the first round of the qualifying draw, there are 10 U.S. players in the main draw as a U.S. player tries to win the tournament for the first time since Andre Agassi in 2004.

The North American hard-court events are all about setting the stage for the US Open. Alcaraz (+120) and Djokovic (+150) are the clear front-runners according to the US Open outrights followed by Medvedev (+450) and Jannik Sinner (+1100).

The main draw in the tournament begins on Monday with each of the top 16 players in the ATP rankings entered. Former finalist Nick Krygios and Milos Raonic have pulled out of the tournament due to injury.

First Quarter: Alcaraz Might See American Paul Once Again

After receiving a first-round bye, top-seeded Alcaraz could see American John Isner, one of the best servers in ATP history in the second round. Still, the tennis picks are calling for the world’s top-ranked player to advance.

There could be plenty of other Americans in the path of the Spaniard.

No. 10 seed Frances Tiafoe and No. 14 seed Tommy Paul are both in this quarter of the draw with Paul just knocking Alcaraz out of the Toronto tournament. They could meet once again in the third round.

The last time Tiafoe and Alcaraz met, the result was a marathon five-set match at the US Open in 2022.

Tiafoe could meet fifth-seeded Casper Ruud with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line. It would be the first meeting between the pair.

Veteran Stan Wawrinka is among the unseeded players to keep an eye on in this portion of the bracket. He could make some tennis news if he upsets Tiafoe in the second round.

Quarterfinal Prediction: Alcaraz vs Tiafoe

Second Quarter: Can Coric Make Another Run?

Tsitsipas wasn’t given the easiest of draws. Hubert Hurkarcz could be lurking in the third round with Tsitsipas trying to rebound after being upset by Gael Monfils in Toronto. Tsitsipas has won seven of the nine meetings against Hurkacz. However, three of the last four meetings went three sets.

Defending Cincinnati champion Borna Coric is another possible opponent if Coric manages to get by American Sebastian Korda in the first round. Tsitsipas has won all three meetings with Coric in 2023 and that includes a pair of hard-court matches.

No player has won back-to-back men’s singles titles in Cincinnati since Roger Federer in 2014 and 2015. It is safe to say that the tennis odds were much more in Federer’s favor in 2015 than they are now for Coric.

Speaking of U.S. players, Tsitsipas will draw either Ben Shelton or Christopher Eubanks in his first match. If it is Eubanks, it will be the first meeting since Eubanks’ stunning win over Tsitsipas at Wimbledon.

Keep an eye on the status of former Cincinnati champion Andy Murray. He pulled out of a scheduled match with Jannik Sinner in Toronto due to an abdominal issue. Will he risk making the injury worse with the US Open around the corner.

If Murray does take the court, he’ll have to contend with No. 11 seed Karen Khachanov in the first round with Nicolas Jarry potentially waiting in the second round.

Andrey Rublev is sitting at the bottom of this draw with Jarry, Murray, Roman Safiullin and Khachanov squaring off with Rublev in the third round. Khachanov has won three of the five previous meetings with Rublev and that includes a straight-set win in Madrid.

Quarterfinal Prediction: Tsitsipas vs Khachanov

Third Quarter: Rune and Medvedev Ready to Collide?

There are some pretty intriguing unseeded players in the draw while Holger Rune and Daniil Medvedev are the top seeds.

American Mackenzie McDonald had a strong showing in Toronto as he upset Andrey Rublev in the second round before falling in the quarterfinals, Yannick Hanfmann has three wins against top-10 players this year and five versus players in the top 20.

The first-round match between No. 16 seed Alexander Zverev and Grigor Dimitrov will attract plenty of attention from those who bet online considering that Dimitrov won this tournament in 2017 and Zverev was the 2021 champion. When they met at the French Open, Zverev won with relative ease.

Veterans Richard Gasquet, Matteo Berrettini, Daniel Evans and Lorenzo Musetti are capable of taking out seeded players at any time.

Medvedev and Musetti could meet for the second week in a row with Medvedev winning 6-4, 6-4 in Toronto. A matchup between Rune and Felix Auger-Aliassime could be challenging for those making tennis picks since they split their two career matches.

Quarterfinal Prediction: Rune vs Medvedev

Fourth Quarter: Djokovic Eyeing Another Title in Cincy

While plenty of attention will be paid to the seeded players in the path of Djokovic, Gael Monfils and Alex de Minaur made plenty of noise in Toronto.

The winner of the Alejandro Davidovich Fokina-Tomas Martin Etcheverry match is capable of giving Djokovic a run for his money in the second round. Davidovich Fokina won at the 2022 Monte Carlo event in his only win in four matches versus Djokovic. Djokovic topped Etcheverry in Rome earlier this year.

No. 13 seed Cameron Norrie will look to avoid being an upset victim in the first round to Monfils and against either de Minaur or American JJ Wolf in the second round before he can think about meeting up with Djokovic. Monfils won the two previous meetings with Norrie, although they came in 2017 and 2019. There is much more recent history between Norrie and de Minaur with de Minaur winning two of the three matches beginning with the 2022 Barcelona quarterfinals.

A matchup between Sinner and American Taylor Fritz will be for a spot in the quarterfinals as long as both seeded players avoid early-round upsets.

Sinner, who lost just one set on his way to the finals in Toronto, might have to get by Francisco Cerundolo first and when they met earlier this year in Rome, Cerundolo emerged victorious. Sinner won an entertaining three-set match against Fritz at Indian Wells.

Quarterfinal Prediction: Djokovic vs Sinner

Way Too Early Predictions for Semifinals, Final

  • Top Half Semifinal Prediction: Alcaraz vs Tsitsipas
  • Bottom Half Semifinal Prediction: Medvedev vs Djokovic
  • Final: Alcaraz vs Djokovic

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