It’s been a busy 24 hours of tennis with the all the excitement and drama from Toronto, but lost in that was the release of the Cincinnati Tennis Masters draw.
With a No. 3 ranking, the fate of Roger Federer is up to the Tennis Gods and yesterday they plopped the 16-time Slam champ in the same top half with rival and top seed Rafael Nadal. But will they even meet?
That leaves Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray in the bottom half.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the four quarters.
If Nadal wants a “pause” after Toronto his opening match in Cincinnati might the time for him to take it. Nadal could play buddy Feliciano Lopez in the second round. Lopez beat Nadal in Queen’s and on a fast Cincinnati court another upset win wouldn’t surprise me. If Nadal gets through, another Spaniard, Nicolas Almagro, could await or more likely either Stan Wawrinka or Michael Llodra. Rafa’s quarterfinal foe will likely emerge from the group of Marin Cilic, Tomas Berdcyh or Marcos Baghdatis. Berdych stepped up his game last night against Federer so I’d tip his advance.
Federer could open his title defense against former Top 10 James Blake. And then he could get a date with Gael Monfils before meeting either Nikolay Dayvdenko, David Ferrer or Sam Querrey in the quarterfinals. It’s a good draw for Federer.
I also like Murray’s section. Fernando Verdaso the other big seed in his quarter but the lefty has been slumping of late. Murray will likely open against Jeremy Chardy, then get Ernests Gulbis. In the quarterfinals Verdasco could be there or Mardy Fish.
The final section is loaded with Robin Soderling, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick, Ivan Ljubicic, John Isner, David Nalbandian and Djokovic. Djokovic will be tested in his opener against either Radek Stepanek or countryman Viktor Troicki. Soderling and Hewitt could meet in the second round. Nalbandian begins with Ljubicic to play Isner! Roddick, who returns after illness, has a first round with Sergiy Stakhovsky and then another meeting with Thiemo De Bakker before perhaps Soderling. It’s a brutal section.
The quarterfinals by seeds: 1 Nadal v. 7 Berdych; 3 Federer v. 6 Davydenko; 8 Verdasco v. Murray; 5 Soderling v. 2 Djokovic.
The semifinals: Nadal v. Federer, Murray v. Djokovic
Some early thoughts are I like Federer’s draw and Murray’s. Depending on how things turn out in Toronto, I’m not sure if Nadal makes the semifinals. And the Djokovic section is an absolute crapshoot right now.
A few of the better first rounders include Wawrinka v. Almagro, Cilic v. Baghdatis, Ferrer v. Dolgopolov, Fish v. Simon, Gulbis v. Young and Ljubicic v. Nalbandian.
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