Hey all, long time no post! I've been a bit busy after Wimbledon so haven't really had time to produce any content but I've read all the comments and kept up with the results in Toronto. Roger's obviously not there having announced his withdrawal weeks ago but the Swiss is already in Cincinnati practising and the draw is now out. You can see his projected opponents below.
Federer's Projected Opponents
- Round 1: Bye
- Round 2: Joau Sousa / Peter Gojowcyck
- Round 3: Andy Murray / Lucas Pouille
- Quarter Final: Dominic Thiem / Kei Nishikori
- Semi Final: Kevin Anderson / Juan Martin Del Potro
- Final: Rafael Nadal / Sascha Zverev / Marin Cilic
Thoughts on the Draw
The first question most fans have is what will Federer wear? 😀 The Uniqlo strategy is a lot different to Nike's and because the partnership was clearly a bit of a rush job Roger's outfits aren't really planned or released in advance. In fact you could only buy his Wimbledon clothing well after the tournament had finished so who knows what he will be sporting in Ohio.
Onto the draw and after the customary bye it's either Joao Sousa or Peter Gojowczyk. Both those guys are in pretty poor form with Gojowczyk not having won a tour match since May before he got injured at the French. Both guys lost in the first round in Toronto and I think it's a fairly comfortable opener for Roger. Sousa did test him once in Halle and Gojowcyk has beaten top 10 players before but Roger is comfortably the favourite.
Round three gets interesting with Murray as a potential opponent. The Scot has to get past Lucas Pouille first who took a bad loss in Toronto to Felix Auger Aliassime. Murray had some moral boosting wins in Washington a fortnight ago but I'm still not sure on his overall fitness. Pouille's level is also hard to predict, he can look in great form one day then the next he's losing to journeymen so again I like Fed's chances whoever he faces.
Into the Quarter's and Thiem, Nishikori and Stan are all in this section. Thiem is becoming a perennial flop off clay so I'm not sure what to expect from him. If Cincy is playing fast I don't really like his chances with his huge swings. The more compact Nishikori is probably the favourite to come through having looked in great form in Washington but after bombing out to Robin Haase at the Rogers Cup nothing's a given. Personally I'd like to see Stan come through, I've watched some of his recent outings and now he's getting some matches in his legs things are slowly but surely improving for him. He was able to give Nadal a decent match two days ago having saved match points in his third round win.
As for the semi finals Roger's Wimbledon conqueror Kevin Anderson is a likely opponent. The South African is in the Semi Finals over in Toronto today, playing Tsitipas who is also in his quarter here. Del Potro is the top seed in this section but he withdrew from the Rogers Cup to rest his left wrist, I'm not sure if that's just precautionary or he has a niggle. Goffin, Kyrgios, Chung and Fiasco are the other names that stand out on paper as capable of putting together some wins. I think I'll pick Del Potro to come through though, he's got an ok record in Cincy and his game translates well to a quicker hard court assuming that's what the tournament have prepared.
As for the final Nadal is the top seed and he's rolling nicely through the Rogers Cup. Cilic is in his half but I imagine his confidence will be shot after blowing a 6-2, 4-2 lead against the Spaniard last night. Zverev is also in this half and he was looking top drawer having won Washington but he put in a “pathetic” display against Tsitipas in yesterday's Quarter Final having served for it at 5-4 in the second. Djoker is also in this section but he looked to have gone all Pepe Imaz in Toronto rather than the DjokoVajda we saw at Wimbledon. So looks wide open to me….
Predictions / Expectations
Not much really, with Fed's scheduling setup in the latter part of his career he often comes into tournaments as an unknown, it's been 4/5 weeks since he last played which was obviously a pretty poor performance by his own lofty standards so I'm not sure what to expect. I assume he's been practicing on hard courts back home and whenever he can get to a tournament early it usually translates to better performances. Having arrived 2 days ago he's got ~5 days before his first match here so hopefully he can hit the ground running on Tuesday or Wednesday.
What do you guys think of the draw? Let me know in the comments.