Leading players head to Cincinnati for major event.
Since 1899, just 25 years after the first recorded playing of tennis in the United States, a tournament has been staged in Cincinnati. The event now known as the Western & Southern Open is the country’s oldest professional tennis event still played in its original city and the vast majority of the world’s top men and women will be in Ohio this week.
Western and Southern Open – Cincinnati – Women’s
There’s a strong field in Cincinnati including seven players who are or have been the world number one.
It’s invariably an open event evidenced by the fact that there have been eight different women in the last five finals. Leading the way in the ladies’ tennis betting is Serena Williams who, perhaps surprisingly, has never won this tournament. Williams was beaten in the final a year ago by Li Na – absent this year through injury – and will hope to go one better this year.
Maria Sharapova is a previous winner but has been prone this year to surprise defeats in matches that, on paper, she should win. She was beaten at the Rogers Cup last week by 14th seed Carla Suárez Navarro 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 and hit an eye-watering 49 unforced errors including the errant backhand that ultimately cost her the match.
Last week we had high hopes for Eugenie Bouchard in front of her home fans but the world number seven was on the receiving end of a bizarre defeat by Shelby Rogers 0-6, 6-2, 0-6. Bouchard will be seeded seven in Cincinnati and will hope to go further than the second round this week.
We also fancy the chances of fourth seed Agnieska Radwanska and tenth seed Victoria Azarenka. Both had some good results in Montreal last week and could go well again here.
Western and Southern Open – Cincinnati
After the Rogers Cup last week there is another strong field for the second consecutive ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event.
It’s a tournament that has been dominated by Roger Federer and Andy Murray in recent years. Only Andy Roddick in 2006 and Rafael Nadal in 2013 have prevented either Murray or Federer from taking the title since 2005 with the Swiss player a five time winner and the Scot a two time champion.
Indeed, of the current ‘big four’ only Novak Djokovic has failed to win in Cincinnati. The favourite going into last week’s Rogers Cup, the world number one suffered his first straight-set defeat on a hard court in 57 matches when he went down 6-2 6-2 to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
After the match, Djokovic admitted it had been a bad day at the office. He said: “He was obviously the better player on the court. I hadn’t played even close to what I intended before going to the court. Just nothing was going. No baseline, no serve, no return. Generally a very bad day, very poor performance. Couldn’t do much.”
The Serb will have to raise his game this week in a field which includes the improving Murray, five time winner Roger Federer, Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer and Milos Raonic.
It may also pay to keep an eye on John Isner. The American reached the final last year before losing to Rafael Nadal and could go well again here.