The action is heating up ahead of the US Open. Alex Mann is back with a summary and a look at this week’s exciting Cincinnati Masters.
Before we get into the predictions for the Cincinnati Masters, let’s summarize week 32.
Simona Halep defeated Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 to win her 3rd Canadian Open title and 9th Masters title overall.
The former world number 1 produced some excellent tennis to reach the final, beating the likes of Coco Gauff and world number 7, Jessica Pegula to reach her 18th Masters 1000 final.
Haddad Maia had played exceptionally all week, using her attacking lefty game to knock out seeds Leylah Fernandez, world number 1 Iga Swiatek, Belinda Bencic and Karolina Pliskova consecutively to set up a meeting with Halep.
Maia would have liked to continue her dream run to the final against Halep, but the Romanian’s impressive retrieval skills and counter-attacking play were too good for the Brazilian.
With this win, Halep returns to the top 10, moving up to number 6 in the WTA rankings.
On the men’s side, Pablo Carreno Busta produced some of the best tennis of his career to defeat Hubert Hurkacz to win his first Masters 1000 title.
Carreno Busta rallied back from a set down in the final to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
After splitting the first two sets, it looked like Hurkacz’s serve would give him the advantage going into the final set.
However, Carreno Busta took advantage of some costly unforced errors by the Pole and broke early on.
There were moments where Hurkacz showed us why he is one of the best servers in the world, winning a service game in under a minute, but it was too little too late.
Carreno Busta produced an incredible retrieval shot which saw him chase a Hurkacz lob, scooping the ball back into play while ending up in the back wall of the court, before hitting a jumping backhand volley to win the point.
This wasn’t the Spaniard’s only impressive win of the week. He also dispatched high-quality players such as Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner, losing only 5 and 6 games, respectively.
With this win, the Spaniard climbs to world number 14, 4 places off his career high of number 10.
The action never stops on the ATP and WTA tours, and now it’s time to look ahead to another Masters 1000 tournament. This week, the players head to Cincinnati, USA.
The hard-court event in Cincinnati began in 1899 with Nat Emerson and Myrtle McAteer winning the first men’s and women’s events, respectively.
On the men’s side, Roger Federer has won a record seven titles, while on the women’s side, Clara Louise Zinke and Ruth Sanders Cordes share the record of winning the tournament five times.
The men’s and women’s defending champions won’t participate in this year’s event.
Alexander Zverev is recovering from an injury he sustained at this year’s French Open. Ash Barty retired from tennis after her Australian Open triumph at the beginning of the season.
The men’s tournament sees the return of Rafael Nadal, who hasn’t played since his quarter-final victory over Taylor Fritz at Wimbledon last month.
Nadal will be looking for match practice on the hard courts before the US Open, where he is a 4-time champion.
Daniil Medvedev is the world’s number 1 but will need to reach at least the quarter-final stage to secure his place at the top of the rankings. Nadal will be hot on his heels, and if he wins the title and Medvedev doesn’t reach the quarter-final, the Spaniard will return to number 1.
Also, look out for in-form players such as Casper Ruud, 2017 finalist Nick Kyrgios, Hubert Hurkacz, and Pablo Carreno Busta, who could have contended for the title.
I’m going to mention Dan Evans for reaching the semi-final of the singles in Canada last week and the final in the doubles tournament.
His crafty game is exciting to watch, and he has shown he can beat some of the best players in the world. He’s one to look out for this week.
Carlos Alcaraz, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Matteo Berrettini and Andrey Rublev will all be looking for a deep run ahead of the US Open this week.
Prediction – Medvedev to win
Once again, the women’s side is packed with a range of players who can win this year’s tournament.
Past Cincinnati champions competing this week include Karolina Pliskova, Garbine Muguruza, Madison Keys and Victoria Azarenka.
After announcing that she is ‘evolving away from tennis,’ 2-time Cincinnati Masters champion Serena Williams faces world number 13 and reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu in the first round.
Although Iga Swiatek has struggled since losing her 37-match unbeaten streak, the world number 1 will still be one of the favorites for the title.
Seeds 2-6, Anett Kontaveit, Paula Badosa, Maria Sakkari, Ons Jabeur, and Aryna Sabalenka have also struggled for match wins in recent weeks but can win the tournament if they can string some wins together.
Off the back of reaching the Wimbledon semi-final and winning last week’s Masters 1000 title in Canada, Simona Halep is the most in-form player and will be the one to beat.
The Romanian is also a 3-time runner-up at the Cincinnati Masters so can she go one further and win the title to make it back-to-back Masters titles in consecutive weeks?
Also, look out for Daria Kasatkina, Naomi Osaka, and Amanda Anisimova, who could also pose a threat.
Prediction – Halep to win