It’s good to be back! Before I start with the main draw of Cincy, I just want to say that I was very impressed by the play of American youngster Mackenzie McDonald in qualies. He defeated 2 tough opponents in Nicolas Mahut and Steve Johnson to advance to his first ATP main draw. He was beaten down by David Goffin in the first round, but it’s good to know that American tennis has some bright young players that we can look forward to, As for the main draw, most of the matches have been fairly straight forward with all the top seeds advancing to the round of 16. I am going to break down the action by each quarter.
Novak Djokovic’s quarter: Djokovic was given no trouble today as he improved to 8 – 0 against Argentinian Juan Monaco by a score of 7 – 5, 6 – 2. Djokovic has a fairly routine route to the semis as he will play Goffin in the next. Goffin has plenty of talent, but no one (except Nadal right now) can stay with Nole from the baseline. Goffin did pick up a great win against red hot Vasek Pospisil in an epic tiebreaker in the third. Goffin saved 3 match points. As for the other part of the quarter, Milos Raonic continues to make an impact on the ATP. He recently became the first Canadian to crack the top 10 and has now picked up 2 solid wins to begin his campaign in Cincy. He defeated American youngster Jack Sock in three sets in the first round and then fought off Serbian big shot Janko Tipsarevic today. Tipsy picked up a good win against Sam Querrey in the first round. As for American #1 John Isner, he pulled off what could have been the biggest win of his year by upseting #8 seed Richard Gasquet in straight sets. I really thought this would be a tough one for Isner, but he looked a lot more aggresive today with his forehand and I think it flustered the Frenchman a little. Should be quite the serving display tomorrow when Isner and Raonic face off tomorrow,
David Ferrer’s quarter: Even though Ferrer and Del Potro both advanced to the round of 16, the real story of this quarter has been Ryan Harrison. Ryan picked up a huge win against Dolgopolov in the first round before his match up with Ferrer. Now given both of their game styles, u would think Ferrer would easily out grind Harrison. But from what I saw, Ryan was extremely aggresive. A completely different player that looked way more confident that he usual did, Ferrer did end up wearing Harrison down to win 6 – 4 in the third, but there is no doubt that the help from Brad Gilbert has certainly helped Ryan progress in his career. The big upset in this section was my boy James Blake defeating the Polish cannon, Jerzy Janowicz. Jerzy boy was certainly not at his best and James took advantage of that. Surprisingly, it was Blake’s defense that won him a lot of points. Blake lost to Dimitry Tursunov today in straights. Tursunov will play Ferrer tomorrow, The other part of the section was straight forward with Del Potro and Lopez advancing to play in the round of 16 as well.
Rafael Nadal’s quarter:
This is easily the most difficult quarter of the whole draw starting tomorrow. The only “surprise” was when Grigor Dimitrov defeated Nicolas Almagro. But Dimitrov is so talented that I wasn’t really shocked by that. Nice win for Brian Baker over Denis Istomin to get his campaign back on track after his injurt in Melbourne all those months ago. The round of 16 matchups can’t get much better in this quarter with Federer playing Haas and Nadal playing Dimitrov. That should be quite tasty.
Andy Murray’s quarter:
Murray cruised by Youzhny today in straights and will take on Frenchman Julien Benneteau tomorrow. Radek Stepanek had a nice win over Fabio Fognini in the first round before falling to Benneteau. Tomas Berdych also advanced easily over Jarkko Nieminen. The most surprising win came to Tommy Robredo over Stan Wawrinka. Both have had exceptional years though but Stan cracked the top 10 this year so that is certainly a surprise. But all of his should know better than to count out the Spaniard after what he did at Roland Garros. Robredo will be up against a stern test against Berdych tomorrow.