Djokovic Back In U.S.A. For ATP Cincinnati Masters; Alcaraz, Medvedev, Sinner Among Threats

by Staff | August 13th, 2023, 2:54 pm
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For the first time since his 2021 US Open loss which dashed his Calendar Slam, Novak Djokovic is back in the USA.

The Serb returns to the Cincinnati Masters, the last big stop before the US Open and the seventh of nine Masters events on the season.

Djokovic, a 2-time Cincinnati champion, is seeded second behind Wimbledon winner Carlos Alcaraz. Former champions Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Andy Murray are also in the field along with defending winner Borna Coric. The features the entire current Top 20.

Djokovic last played Cincinnati in 2020 winning the title over Milos Raonic during COVID in New York. In fact, the Serb has made the semifinals or better in his last four trips to Ohio, winning two of the last three times.

It’s Djokovic first event since his stunning loss to Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final.

Another subplot this week will be the top seeding at the US Open. Djokovic could get it back from Alcaraz should the youngster lose early.

Top seeds 16 seeds are: 1 Carlos Alcaraz, 2 Novak Djokovic, 3 Daniil Medvedev, 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas, 5 Casper Ruud, 6 Holger Rune, 7 Andrey Rublev, 8 Jannik Sinner, 9 Taylor Fritz, 10 Frances Tiafoe, 11 Karen Khachanov, 12 Felix Auger Aliassime, 13 Cameron Norrie, 14 Tommy Paul, 15 Borna Coric, 16 Alexander Zverev

Seeds: 1 Alcaraz, 5 Ruud, 10 Tiafoe, 14 Paul
Floaters: Griekspoor, Kecmanovic, Wawrinka, Nakashima, Isner
Notable openers: Miomir Kecmanovic-Tommy Paul, Frances Tiafoe-Tallon Griekspoor
Projected 3R matches: 1 Alcaraz – 14 Paul, 10 Tiafoe – 5 Ruud
Notes: While John Isner is no longer a top player, the 6-foot-10 American is still not someone you want to face, especially not at a place where he’s made the final. But Isner could be Alcaraz’s first match with potentially a rematch with confirmed nemesis Tommy Paul who just upset the Spaniard Friday in Canada. Frances Tiafoe, or perhaps Casper Ruud, could await Alcaraz in the quarters. Stan Wawrinka also lurks, and he could meet Tiafoe in the second round.

Seeds: 4 Tsitsipas, 7 Rublev, 11 Khachanov, 15 Coric
Floaters: Hurkacz, Jarry, Eubanks, Korda, Murray, Shelton, Ruusuvuori
Notable openers: Ben Shelton-Christopher Eubanks, Sebastian Korda-Borna Coric, Karen Khachanov-Andy Murray
Projected 3R matches: 4 Tsitsipas – 15 Coric, 11 Khachanov – 7 Rublev
Notes: There’s no overwhelming favorite in this section. Stefanos Tsitsipas did make the final last year, but it’s been hit or miss for the Greek this year, with more misses. Borna Coric, who beat Tsitsipas last year to win his biggest career title, is back but few peg him a true contender and he’ll take on a very tough assignment in Sebastian Korda from the jump. Two-time winner Andy Murray is questionable with a ab injury, and he opens against the returning Karen Khachanov. New American stars Ben Shelton and Christopher Eubanks square off in one of the best first rounds, with the winner to get Tsitsipas. Andrey Rublev might be the pick with the best draw.

Seeds: 3 Medvedev, 6 Rune, 12 Auger Aliassime, 16 Zverev
Floaters: Musetti, Dimitrov, Evans, Mannarino, Berrettini
Notable openers: Richard Gasquet-Adrian Mannarino, Matteo Berrettini-Felix Auger Aliassime, Alexander Zverev-Grigor Dimitrov,Daniel Evans-Lorenzo Musetti
Projected 3R matches: 6 Rune – 12 Auger Aliassime, 16 Zverev – 3 Medvedev
Notes: Another brutal section with Medvedev the slight favorite and then Rune who might have the better draw. Medvedev could see Lorenzo Musetti or Washington champion Dan Evans, then Alexander Zverev before Rune. Zverev opens against fellow former champion Grigor Dimitrov. Rune could see Felix Auger-Aliassime or Matteo Berrettini in his third round. The Canadian and Italian do meet in their first match.

Seeds: 2 Djokovic, 8 Sinner, 9 Fritz, 13 Norrie
Floaters: De Minaur, Cerundolo, Etcheverry, Lehecka, Davidovich Fokina, Sonego, Wolf, Monfils
Notable openers: Jiri Lehecka-Taylor Fritz, Alex De Minaur-JJ Wolf, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina-Tomas Martin Etcheverry
Projected 3R matches: 8 Sinner – 9 Fritz, 13 Norrie – 2 Djokovic
Notes: For his first event back in America, Djokovic will take his draw and has to take his draw. The Serb will be favored in each match but with the likely road being Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Cameron Norrie or Alex De Minaur and then likely Jannik Sinner, it won’t be easy. The good news is Davidovich Fokina, De Minaur and Sinner could all be spent after career weeks in Canada while Djokovic is more than well rested, but could be rusty. It is his first hard court event since an early March Dubai loss to Medvedev.

The semifinals could see Carlos Alcaraz-Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev-Novak Djokovic.

Former champions: Borna Coric, Andy Murray (2), Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov, Daniil Medvedev, Novak Djokovic (2)
Former finalists: John Isner, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev

Last year, Borna Coric defeated (4) Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6(0), 6-2.

2022 Borna Coric d. Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6(0), 6-2
2021 Alexander Zverev d. Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-3
2020 Novak Djokovic d. Milos Raonic 1-6, 6-3, 6-4
2019 Daniil Medvedev d. David Goffin 7-6(3), 6-4
2018 Novak Djokovic d. Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4
2017 Grigor Dimitrov d. Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 7-5
2016 Marin Cilic d. Andy Murray 6-4, 7-5
2015 Roger Federer d. Novak Djokovic 7-6(1), 6-3
2014 Roger Federer d. David Ferrer 6-3, 1-6, 6-2
2013 Rafael Nadal d. John Isner 7-6(8), 7-6(3)

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