The Western and Southern Open is without doubt one of the greatest non-Grand Slam occasions on the skilled tennis tour.
America’s midwestern metropolis of Cincinnati performs host to one of many few occasions on the circuit that concurrently runs males’s and ladies’s attracts, and the event acquires added significance with it being the ultimate tune-up forward of the US Open.
This yr, the occasion shouldn’t be bereft of storylines, and with big names highlighting an uncharacteristically stacked predominant draw, the stakes are that a lot larger.
Nadal, Medvedev search for kind
The narrative in Cincinnati is prone to be tailor-made across the high two seeds – the winners of two of the final three US Opens and the reigning hardcourt Main champions – Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev.
World No. 1 Medvedev, the very best vaccinated hard-courter on tour, has numerous factors to defend till the tip of the yr, together with his US Open title. The Russian has had a quiet season ever since dropping his two-set lead within the Australian Open ultimate. The Russian gained in Los Cabos earlier this month, however his early defeat in Montreal to Nick Kyrgios, who is an efficient decide to go deep in Cincinnati and New York himself, places him in determined want of kind.
Rafa has arrived 🤩#CincyTennis pic.twitter.com/hRWTLRey9e
— Western & Southern Open (@CincyTennis) August 12, 2022
Nadal, alternatively, faces a unique form of problem. The Spaniard has been sensational this yr, nonetheless unbeaten in Majors and his loss to Carlos Alcaraz in Madrid being his solely defeat not associated to an damage.
However the Spaniard’s success comes regardless of his mounting bodily points. He began the yr recent off a minor operation for his continual foot situation, which flared up once more on the French Open the place he gained after utilizing anaesthetic injections. A rib damage broke him down within the Indian Wells ultimate and curtailed the beginning of his clay season, and an stomach tear led to his withdrawal from Wimbledon.
Cincinnati – the place he performs for the primary time since 2017 – is prone to be a take a look at of his physicality greater than a title push.
This might go away the door open for a number of others. Casper Ruud and Hubert Hurkacz come into the occasion on the again of a superb week in Montreal. Alcaraz, positioned in a much less crowded a part of a draw, will likely be trying to achieve some momentum forward of the US Open. The Spaniard’s meteoric rise to the highest of the lads’s sport has been marred by a number of nervy ultimate losses lately, and he will likely be trying so as to add to his breakthrough yr.
Rely the celebrities ⭐️#CincyTennis pic.twitter.com/4qbeOUQs2e
— Western & Southern Open (@CincyTennis) August 15, 2022
The likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Matteo Berrettini – who performs a mouthwatering first-round in opposition to Frances Tiafoe – will even be eyeing the title if the draw opens up for them.
Kyrgios, having gained in Washington and reached the ultimate at Wimbledon, is undoubtedly the one to look at although.
Serena-Raducanu will take the headlines
Serena Williams’ retirement announcement jolted tennis followers all around the world, and now on her farewell tour, her outing in Cincinnati turns into all of the extra intriguing as she takes on reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu on Tuesday.
Williams’ huge groundstrokes, sturdy serve, and pure energy have all waned, and her sport is surviving on clutch play and psychological toughness. Raducanu, a yr on from her triumph in New York however nonetheless in her first full season on tour, has struggled bodily and mentally.
The Brit turns into the right participant to face for Serena. Whether it is to be one in all her ultimate matches, the stakes are excessive. For Raducanu, a high-profile scalping of the out-of-form nice could also be precisely what she wants.
Whereas each gamers are undoubtedly two of the largest names in ladies’s tennis in the intervening time, they’re extremely unlikely to win in Cincinnati.
One of many final possibilities to see Serena Williams play is #CincyTennis 👀
🎟️ https://t.co/WZsRRNaDVH pic.twitter.com/qEa5sImda8
— Western & Southern Open (@CincyTennis) August 9, 2022
World No. 1 Iga Swiatek might have forgotten lose between March and June, however she has meandered on tour since, and will likely be trying to achieve some momentum in America’s Midwest.
The Pole is positioned within the trickiest part of the draw, with Toronto finalist Beatrice Haddad Maia, heavyweight Jelena Ostapenko, Coco Gauff and Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina all in her quarter.
The underside half stays open with Toronto champion Simona Halep not sure of taking part in, no matter which her performances over the previous few months have made her a favorite for New York. Belinda Bencic, Aryna Sabalenka, and Paula Badosa will all be trying to pounce.
Nadal returns from damage and Serena prepares to say goodbye. Medvedev is on the lookout for kind and Alcaraz stays a wildcard. Kyrgios is trying to show himself and Raducanu wants a end result. All these storylines are prone to culminate in New York subsequent month, however they are going to be kicking off on Tuesday in Cincinnati.