Cincinnati Men’s Draw: Federer Returns Seeking A Sixth Title, Gets Nadal In His Quarter
by Sean Randall | August 10th, 2013, 12:54 am

Roger Federer makes his summer debut on the hardcourts in Cincinnati next week as the tournament defending champion. Federer, in fact, has won the title five times before, but this year could be his toughest test ever, and not just due to his recent slump. More so because his fellow rivals Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are in the draw as is Rafael Nadal who’s landed right in Roger’s quarter! Oh boy!

Djokovic is again the top seed, but the Serb has never won in Cincinnati, finishing second four of the last five years – it’s the only Masters event missing from Novak’s trophy cabinet. However, Novak has to like what he sees this time around. He’ll play either Juan Monaco or Jurgen Melzer to start, then likely Gilles Simon, who opens against Vasek Pospisil. Novak’s quarterfinal seed is once again Richard Gasquet. But in a very competitive section I think John Isner or Milos Raonic will emerge over the Frenchman. Cincinnati’s usually a faster court, but I’ll go with Novak over one of the big guys still.

David Ferrer and the hobbled Juan Martin Del Potro are in the second quarter and it’s hard to gauge either of them. Ferrer has to be disappointed after a poor loss in Canada while Del Potro’s saddled with that back injury. Yet if the Argentine is okay he’s the class guy to return to the semifinals for a second straight year. If he’s not healthy then maybe Benoit Paire, Kei Nishikori or Jerzy Janowicz could sneak out of what is a very wide open section.

Federer will debut his bigger racquet on the hardcourts, and it’s going to get tested early. In a rematch of the 2010 Cincinnati final, Federer could meet the recovering Mardy Fish in the second round, then his buddy Tommy Haas in the third. And if he gets through that one – no sure bet these days – it’s Nadal. And unfortunately, if Nadal is there, which I think he will be because he’s got a terrific draw, Rafa’s going to win. Roger says he gets more power with the larger frame racquet but sacrifices some control. To me that spells certain trouble against Nadal.

Two-time champion Andy Murray anchors the bottom section. And it won’t be an easy road. The Scot, who’s in the doubles semifinals Saturday in Montreal, could face an immediate revenge match against an improved Ernests Gulbis, then maybe Julien Benneteau before a date with Tomas Berdych. Like Ferrer, I think Murray will also be motivated by his poor loss to Gulbis in Montreal, therefore I expect a big week from Andy ahead.

So my semifinals right now look like Djokovic against Del Potro and Nadal vs. Murray. It’s hard to pick this early, but I’ll take Murray to begin his US Open push by beating Djokovic to win another Cincinnati title.

Before we get to the title bout, though, I have to say there’s a treasure trove of good first round matchups: Pospisil/Simon, Sock/Raonic, Blake/Janowicz, Haas/Anderson, Dimitrov/Almagro, Seppi/Wawrinka, Fognini/Stepanek and Gulbis/Youzhny to name a few. So it has the markings for a great week of tennis and a fitting final stop for the top guys before the US Open.

Matches begin on Monday. The top eight seeds start Tuesday.

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Cincinnati Draw: Djokovic Tries To Become A Golden Master, Federer-Murray Quarter?
French Open Draw: Rafael Nadal Lands In Novak Djokovic’s Quarter!
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53 Comments for Cincinnati Men’s Draw: Federer Returns Seeking A Sixth Title, Gets Nadal In His Quarter

Margot Says:

Oh dear….Sean…;) And am not sure how much Andy will push himself before USOpen.
And oh the irony, straight away he probably gets a re-match with Ernst :( Though H2H with Youzny is 2:2 so not a given.
Hope he enters the doubles in Cincy too…;)

Jatin Says:

Roger and rafa never played in the super fast hard courts of cincinnati. And i think roger will have an edge over rafa there.

Michael Says:

It is brutal for Roger. To have such a draw is really a nightware and he will be meeting Fish early and also the possibility of beating Rafa, Novak and Andy consecutively to win this tournament. This is next to impossible. But let him make a try atleast.

Fed is great Says:

Challenging draw for the GOAT. But the positive side is he gets an opportunity for a win against Nadal.

Bad Knee Rules Says:

Rafa will not play Cincinnati.

metan Says:

Maestro draw is tough.
He has been practising in cincy, any one knows which racket he is using???

James Says:

Another brutal draw for Roger after Wimbledon. I hope he plays with the racket that won him 17 Slams and last year’s Cincy title.
I don’t think Roger can beat Nadal there this time.
Let’s see if Nadal decides to play there or not. If he’s feeling good about his knees, I think he will.

Dan Martin Says:

The Eiffel Tower Showdown if they meet. Rafa has 8 Roland Garros titles. Federer has 1 RG, 1 Bercy, and 5 Cincy titles (an Eiffel tower is right across the street from the tennis center).

madmax Says:

Are we all convinced yet that Roget will actually be using his new racquet? Because he has been practising with it, doesn’t mean he is going to use it in cinny? He has said, he will make a decision on it just prior to cinny.

Seems like a tough draw Sean, to be fair, BUT I thought that Nadal was not playing cinny? Has he decided to play now?

James Says:

Sampras thinks Roger’s new racket experiment will take time. He believes Roger’s recent struggle is more to do with his confidence than equipment.

He says “When Roger’s playing well, he can play with a broomstick. He’s that good.”

Steve 27 Says:

Are Cincinnati and Shanghai the fastest hard court outdoor of the tour?

Josh39485 Says:

Guys, Federer has confirmed he is definitely using the new racquet for Cincinnati:

All of what Fed has said in the interview sounds very positive and encouraging for us fans, but what would really prove his motivation is if he puts in a strong showing at Cinci, assuming his back is fine now.

He’s been handed a very rough draw, but I hope that he can make the semifinals or finals (optimism!). It seems unlikely with Nadal lurking as a potential QF opponent, but tbh anything can happen, particularly if Rafa expends energy in Montreal.

rafaeli Says:

“Cincinnati Men’s Draw: Federer Returns Seeking A Sixth Title, Gets Nadal In His Quarter”

It’s actually Nadal’s Qtr. He is seeded 4 and Roger is seeded 5, remember?

Josh39485 Says:

@rafaeli – Yes, but the article is written from Federer’s point of view as he is the defending champion. They are assessing HIS road to the title, not Rafa’s, and so His Quarter features Rafa, a Semi would feature Murray or Berdychh, and then a Djokovic final.

rafaeli Says:

That’s not how I understand it. #s 1, 2, 3 & 4 head the 4 qtrs and #s 1 & 2 head the 2 halves of the draw, regardless of who is the defending champion. You can’t say Murray is in Federer’s half can you?

Tennislover Says:

“And if he gets through that one – no sure bet these days – it’s Nadal. And unfortunately, if Nadal is there, which I think he will be because he’s got a terrific draw, Rafa’s going to win.”

I’d be surprised if Fed reaches the qf stage. He has looked absolutely woeful over the last few months and the new racket makes it even more complicated. Raf is now a big favorite against Fed ANYWHERE. It’d be quite ironic if Raf were to crush Fed on Cincy’s quick surface where Fed would have, in his prime or even as late as last year, fancied his chances most against Raf compared to, say, Toronto, Montreal or even the USO.

Daniel Says:

Guys, don’t get carried away. Concu is fats and favors serves and quick points. nadla amg even beat Fed there but the score will be close. Even Rome where Nadal was crushing Fed, Fed was able to break Nadal and win 2 games jn a row. He can do better in Cincy.

Daniel Says:

Sorry, iPan. Cincy is a fast court and favors … Nadal may even

Humble Rafa Says:

I don’t see the point in playing this tournament. It is for midgets like the Arrogant One. I will rest up and be ready for the real deal.

madmax Says:

Just read that Fed’s back has improved and is a lot better (crossing fingers). It will be so good to see him playing again!—Roger-Federer-says-he-wants-to-enjoy-his-time-on-the-court-articolo12065.html

nadalista Says:

RT @PseudoFed: “Thank you so much commentators for reminding Me 59 times in the first set that Rafa is in My quarter in Cincinnati #yourefired”

Jaysta Says:

As a Nadal fan, I think this is the first time in a while (probably ever) that I worry more about possible murray or djoker matchup than matchup against Fed. Especially at a tailor-made fast hard court surface that Fed really likes. Even though he had one bad result at Wimby, I don’t think Fed should have made the racquet change. It takes pros at least a year generally to get used to a new racquet head (See: Djokovic new Head racquet circa start of 2010). But still, I want to see Roger do well as a fan of tennis and I hope he performs well as defending champ.


`As a Nadal fan, I think this is the first time in a while (probably ever) that I worry more about possible murray or djoker matchup than matchup against Fed..`

Oh that’s kind of crazy.
Fed gets owned by Rafa on the H2H but you have always previously worried more about Roger playing against your Nadal?
Even after the 7 losses in a row to Novak?
Surely you just mean indoors?

Nadalista Says:

I don’t see anything crazy in what @Jaysta said. Even with the lop-sided H2H, Rafans have always respected Fed’s game, never took it for granted that Rafa would always win. 2011 Novak was a revelation but even after that 7 times in a row basting, we always heldmut hope that, a long as Rafa was in the game, he would find a solution, and find a solution he has, no?

It is quite clear, to me at least, that Novak and his fans were lulled into a false sense of security by that “7 times in a row” pasting, that Rafa was done for as far as beating Novak was concerned. Hence you saw the preposterous hubris which accompanied every Novak win over Rafa: Novak is the new King of Clay (post MC 2013), he will take RG 2013, he knows how to beat Rafa blah, blah, blah.

Rafa, and his fans, took it all on the chin, knowing that the problem solver was at work.

2011 is history, more interesting is what is happening now and what’s in store tomorrow, potentially.

Giles Says:

@nadalista. Well said. We are now in 2013 no?
Vamos Rafa!!

Nadalista Says:

And it’s quite funny how, for some Nole fans, the Nole/Rafa H2H begins and ends in 2011, but the Fed/Rafa H2H spans a whole career. Please.

Time to move on, folks……..

Nadalista Says:

Oh don’t worry, some of us are not under any illusions at all. Nole/Rafa is the rivalry du jour, at least for a lot of people.

Unlike some, we do not extrapolate, or choose to determine, how the rivalry will pan out in future on the basis of a few (yes, 7 is a few in the scheme of the overall H2H) wins.

The Rafa/Novak H2H is currently 21/15 in favor of Rafa. Let’s see who wins the next meeting!


Nadalista Says:

…….and yes, 2011 is history. Unless you are holding out hopes of a do-over, which I personally am hoping for, otherwise that H2H is one way traffic now……….not exciting.

Hawkeye Says:

Rafa is 5-1 vs Nole since AO ’12.


Nadalista Says:

Yawn, don’t worry @Hades. Nole may yet repeat 2011. Who knows? For now, let’s just marvel at the spectacle he and Rafa served up in Montreal, hey? Fantastic, no?

And try not to take Nole’s recent, how to say, travails too hard, love. Nole is a great Champion, he will find a way to “solve” his current, how to say, set back?

And oh, he is still #1, so why the ‘tude?

Nadalista Says:

Baby Fed is through, on course to play Rafa should Rafa go through either Andujar or Becker. Key to Rafa’s Cincy campaign are his energy levels after Montreal. Hope Rafa brings it, would love to see a proper thow-down with Dimitrov, who pushed him quite hard at MC this year.

grendel Says:

“Baby Fed is through, on course to play Rafa”. The winner of Dim/Nadal is due to meet Federer, assuming this and that. So yet again, we are likely to be denied a contest between Baby Fed and the actual Fed. Somehow, they always miss each other in tourneys. But it would be a spectacle to savour. Wonder if it will ever happen.

Meanwhile, Almagro is quite a scalp for Dimitrov. The final game in their match was not without comedy. Dimitrov has shown in the past a disinclination to successfully serve out – and even in this match, he was broken when serving for the first set. On the other hand, the talented Almagro is as flaky as they come. First Dimitrov would donate a point, and then Almagro, as if determined not to be outshone, would present the point straight back with a drive volley into the net or something equally inappropriate. Eventually, Dimitrov seemed to cotton on to the fact that Almagro was as nervous as he was, and it was really a matter of getting the ball in play, it being a well known fact that to gain a point, this is more or less a non negotiable requirement.

skeezer Says:

Nadal fans fighting? lol…

Steve 27 Says:

Hades, How is life in the underworld? Have you seen Djokovic’s dad there?

Legend Says:

Hades….Danny Morris ??

the DA Says:

The OoP for tomorrow is out. Roger debuts in the night session. Other matches of interest: Anderson vs Haas, Gulbis vs Youhzny & Raonic vs Sock.

Jaysta Says:

Hades, sorry man I might not have made my point clear and/or you may have misunderstood my logic. First of all, I want to let you know that I tend to think of myself as a pragmatic, level-headed “fan” of Rafa, as I wish everybody would be with their own favorites. I am pretty new to this website but please call me out if you think I am being biased in my comments towards a player or whatnot. I meant to indicate that on a fast hard court such as Cincy, Fed is definitely the favorite over everybody else, IF he is on form. It’s been that way for a cpl of years now. The point I was trying to make is that, regardless of the Wimbledon loss, I think Federer would be a bigger threat to Nadal in Cincy if he had stayed with his 90 sq-in. racquet. He will obviously get more power with the new stick but he will also make more unforced errors. And usually what plagues him against Nadal? Shanks and unforced errors in losses, wouldn’t you agree? So, I just think those errors will come aplenty now for Nadal to take advantage of. That’s all I was trying to say. If Fed and Nadal were to meet up at this tournament, I still favor Fed about 60/40 right now…but let’s see what happens.

Steve 27 Says:

Is time for redemption to He will grow up and he has to maintain the good kid style to earn big and succulent contracts.

Michael Says:


For your information, Roger and Dmitrov H2H stands at 6-0 in former’s favour. They have already met before a number of times. So, I just wonder what you mean by that statement “Somehow, they always miss each other in tourneys. But it would be a spectacle to savour. Wonder if it will ever happen”

grendel Says:

Michael, I meant exactly what I said. I always used to be on the lookout for a possible Fed/Dimitrov encounter, wondering if it would ever occur. It seemed strange the way they kept missing each other. Still, just to be sure,in the light of your comment I just checked on ATP h2h of the 2 players. It is as I said, they have not met. Where did you get that 6-0 figure? That is a strange mistake. To think they had met once, that I can understand, memories are not always reliable – but 6 times?????

grendel Says:

They have met for a chat, however –

I was just wondering, is it possible you were thinking of Gasquet? Gasquet, who used sometimes to be called Little Fed, has played Dimitrov 4 times and won the lot, convincingly too.

Michael Says:


The link is given below for your reference.

Please check out and let me know.

Tennislover Says:

Michael – I am sure Fed and Dimi haven’t played each other. I must have have been living on a different planet if I missed their six matches that the livescores site mentions. There is something seriously wrong with their database. I am sure even you can not recall any of the aforesaid six matches taking place. The ATP site, although far from being perfect, is generally quite reliable and, as grendel said, they haven’t met even once.

nitesh Says:

I am looking forewarzd for a rafa – djokovic final or rafa – del petro final
Federer is the GOAT but his days are over
Andy murray although wimbeldon champion but it seems his motivation and hunger is fullfilled he knows he can not be No 1 for long rest about dimitrov rafa will find his way in 2 or maybe 3 sets the only player who has got mental strength + game to beat rafa is djokovic whereas there are two players who can beat djokovic are murray and nadal

grendel Says:


Your link seems to be some sort of spoof. For instance, the claim is made that Federer met Dimitrov at Wimbledon 2010. But Dimitrov was not in that draw ( See also for the same draw from another source.

On your link, Dimitrov is shown as playing Federer in 2004 at Wimbledon – he would have been 13 then. Forgive me if I don’t check the rest – I think enough is said.

It is strange, though. Who would go to the bother of making all this up, and why?

grendel Says:

Ah, not wanting to rub it in, but one more comment Michael. That match at Wimbledon 2010 which your link gives as Dimitrov being beaten by Federer – the score, a 5 setter, is actually given correctly, but the player Federer beat was Falla, not Dimitrov. Perhaps Tennislover is right, and there is a cock up over databases rather than a deliberate spoof.

Tennislover Says:

“I meant to indicate that on a fast hard court such as Cincy, Fed is definitely the favorite over everybody else, IF he is on form.”

That is a really big IF. I’d be surprised if THIS Fed does much better than what he has been doing of late. I think the new racket, at least in the short run, is not going to help him much. I wonder how much Fed can trust his instincts with this new and very significant change. An element of indecisiveness is bound to creep in initially. I guess we will see if and when he does meet Raf in the qf. I hope Fed can keep it competitive.

Michael Says:


You may be right. I had my doubts especially when the H2H was mentioned as 6-0. It is bizaree that we have such unreliable links which leads us to wrong conclusions. When you made your statement that Dmitrov is yet to meet Roger, I googled and found this link which I posted for your attention. Unfortunately I failed to check out their veracity. But some of the points you have raised makes lot of common sense especially that meeting at 2004 at Wimbledon when Dmitrov should have been just 13. Thanks for correcting me. But, still I have some doubts as to whether Roger is yet to meet Dmitrov even once ?

Michael Says:


Thanks for that ATP link. According to that, Roger and Dmitrov are yet to meet which is Grendel’s point. He may well be right.

salleh_ahmed Says:

and nole is out in the QF

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