Latest Spin - Western and Southern Open Edition

Ohio, Ohio,  Ohio! Previewing the Western & Southern Open

By Michael J. Lewis

It’s almost here! It’s almost here!

No, not the apocalypse. We’re talking about the U.S. Open, the biggest and final Grand Slam event on the tennis calendar each year. But before we roll into New York, the ATP and WTA make a stop at the much-beloved Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. A quick preview of this week’s big bash in the Midwest:


Three who may lift the trophy:

  • 1. Novak Djokovic: After so many years of failing to win this Masters 1000 event, the most popular man in Serbia finally broke through last year.

  • 2. Roger Federer: One would think the GOAT has gotten over the crushing Wimbledon finals loss. He should be fired up to head into the Open; he could play Djokovic in the semis here.

  • 3. Daniil Medvedev: I know it’s crazier than Charlie Sheen to pick anyone but the Big 3 here, but the under-the-radar Russian has had a terrific summer and is coming off a huge week in Montreal.

Two who might surprisingly make a run:

  • 1. Andy Murray: Hey look who’s back! Remember this guy? Scottish, kind of surly, likes to scream at his player’s box? Sir Andy’s range of results here is huge: He could last till the semis, or he could easily lose to Gasquet in Round 1.

  • 2. Alex de Minaur: “The Demon” had a forgettable first half of the year but is coming on lately, reaching the final in Atlanta two weeks ago. Could face Rafa in the quarters.

One who will be on the first flight to New York City:

  • Alexander Zverev: Sasha has not been so fierce this year, and hasn’t beaten a Top-50 opponent since Roland Garros. Could play FA-A in his first match.


Three who may lift the trophy:

-- 1. Serena Williams: Well that’s more like it. Venus’ sister rolled through Toronto looking very much like the player who’s won 23 Slams. But, a back injury imperils her Cincy chances. If she’s healthy enough to play, she’s the favorite.

-- 2. Naomi Osaka: Seemed strangely content, even relieved, upon losing to Serena in Montreal. Regardless, she could get another shot at Serena here in Cincy.

3. Ash Barty: The top seed has to be considered a contender, but since her stunning win in Paris, she’s fizzled. Due for a successful event.

Two who might make a surprising run:

  • 1. Sloane Stephens: I know, there’s nothing in her recent play that suggests she’ll start winning again. But that’s usually exactly when she starts winning: After a slump.

  • 2. Victoria Azarenka: She’s often an afterthought when people talk about top players, but still dangerous on hardcourts.

One who will be on the first flight to New York City:

  • Angelique Kerber: The powerful German has had a year to forget, and things don’t seem to be trending up for her right now.