ATP Masters 1000Cincinnati MastersRoger Federer

Cincinnati Draw – Federer Makes First Appearance in the 2015 US Open Series

While the Rogers Cup in Montreal is still very much underway the Cincinnati Masters has also arrived with the Draw Ceremony taking place yesterday evening. This is Federer's first outing on the North American hard courts after he decided to skip playing at the Uniprix Stadium in favour of an extended holiday followed by a training block in Zurich.

Roger comes into Cincinnati as the defending champion and the Number 2 seed. The Swiss has won the event a record 6 times in 05, 07, 09-10, 12 and 14. Not bad going and it's always been one his preferred tournaments due to the surrounding area so I'm looking forward to it. You can see his projected opponents below:

Federer's Projected Opponents

  • Round 1: Bye
  • Round 2: Roberto Bautista-Agut / Pablo Cuevas
  • Round 3: Kevin Anderson
  • Quarter Final: Rafael Nadal
  • Semi Final: Andy Murray
  • Final: Novak Djokovic

Full .PDF printable draw

Thoughts on the Draw

Cincinnati Draw Thoughts

First up for Fed in his quest for a seventh title is either Bautista-Agut or Cuevas. Neither of whom have a great pedigree on hard courts and are 5-0 combined against Fed in the Head to Head. Should be easy pickings for the Swiss whoever he meets, RBA is probably the favourite to come through.

Into Round 3 and big serving Kevin Anderson could await. Anderson made the Quarters in Cincy last year but he's hit a run of poor form post Wimbledon and I think he tends to prefer the slightly slower style hard courts of Indian Wells and Miami. On his day he can be a handful as Djokovic found out at SW19 but after 2 first round exits the last person he'd want to see on the other side of the net is Federer.

The main talking point of the draw has been Nadal landing in Federer's Quarter which means we could see a Fedal match for the first time since the Aus Open in 2014. I've just watched the highlights of the Spaniard against Nishikori in Montreal and it was a very one sided affair with Nishikori dictating from the baseline and picking off Nadal's second serve with ease.

Considering Nadal's sub par year you'd have to say Fed is the favourite should they meet but considering the history / battle scars between the two it's never straightforward. I'd like to think if 2013 handicapped Federer can take a set off Nadal in Cincy, who clean swept the US Open series, then he should be able to go one better this time around. As for Nadal's opponents prior there isn't too much danger for him – Raonic is really the only threat but perhaps Rajeev Rampras could cause him some trouble if he gets past Chardy.

The Semi Finals is then projected to be against Murray who defeated Tsonga yesterday to make the last 4 in Montreal. Hard to assess his form as he's had it pretty easy in Canada so far and although he's a 2 time winner in Cincy he hasn't been past the Quarter Final stage since 2011. I'm not sure he'll make it that far this year so Cilic is my pick to get to the Semi Finals.

As for the Championship decider should Fed get there the seeded opponent is of course Djokovic. Novak had to save 2 match points against Gulbis in Montreal so looks to be maintaining his confidence from Wimbledon nicely and I'm sure he'll be a factor next week. Looking at his section there's only really Nishikori and Stan that pose a big threat to him. Should Isner be close to 100% fitness then maybe he can do some damage too but if Djokovic is still feeling fresh after playing singles / doubles in Canada then I'd expect him to come through.


  • Leonardo Mayer to beat Anderson
  • Fedal to happen
  • Tomic to take out Nishikori
  • Janowicz to take out Monfils
  • The winner of Kohlschreiber / Cilic to beat Murray

What do you guys think of the draw? Let me know in the comments.


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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    1. Go on Dippy!!! A good victory.
      Re: Rogers road to another title, I think it will be tough. But as long as fed makes the semi or finals then I will be happy with that. Anything less will be disappointing.
      On another note hope Mugrey loses his semi finals match. As I know Federer has quite alot points to defend but I don’t want Mr ” Monotone” Murray get more points to get closer or to overtake Federer for the number 2 world ranking.
      I just hope federer comes back where he left off and play solid consistent Tennis and be in the running of winning important titles again.
      Ps. Djokovic the lucky lucky cheater.GuGulbis should of won. 2 mp.FFlipping heck just reminded me of when Nadal used to do the same. Instead of losing he would somehow come back from the brink and get the win. What a load of Golfers Cardigans!!!! Lately I am despising Djokovic a whole lot more than Nadal. And thats saying something. Lol I can’t wait for downfall of Djokovic and watch him react and squirm him losing to younger and lower ranked players. Hopefully I wish this sooner than him dominating another couple of years. He is simply another number 1 champion that nobody apart from Serbia that actually likes him. Lol.

      1. Okay, I’m really confused. I know it’s tight for No. 2/No. 3 at the moment, but ATP site has Roger on 9065, live rankings site has him dropping to 8075. He lost the Rogers Cup final last year, so shouldn’t he be dropping 600 points, down to 8465, for sitting it out this year, or am I missing something somewhere?

        Still really bemused by Novak yesterday. Losing serve in both the first 2 sets and having to save 2 MPs against Gulbis doesn’t sound like him at all.

      2. The 8075 figure is dropping the Cincinnati 1000 points. Murray is No2 on Monday, but obviously doesn’t affect the seeding at Cincy, and he has to do well there to retain it I think and out champ needs to retain title. However, if he wins today, that does change things. ๐Ÿ™ Djokovic is so far ahead it makes no difference to him. Rather torn here, as I’d like to see Djokovic lose, but don’t want Murray getting even more points, although in some ways it was inevitable he was going to grab No2 at some point during US swing as he’s been No2 in Race for some time.

        As Serajul said, Gulbis should have had that one, but choked. Unbelievably, Gulbis won more games at this tournie than he’s won the whole year. Frankly he’s been slumping so badly, this match gave everyone a shock. But when he’s playing well (as he was for first 2 sets), he’s good enough, and unpredictable enough importantly, to challenge anyone. Did Djokovic lose a bit of focus, or simply taken by surprise…who knows?

      3. Yeah 1000 points for Cincy comes off Monday.

        Maybe he should have won but Gulbis didn’t choke, 1 match point on his own serve, he hits a deep second serve onto the line, Djoker makes a good return, trade a couple of groundies then hits an inside out forehand winner. What could he really do differently on that point?

      4. OK, maybe he didn’t, but he had two opportunities to take that set – but I guess TBs are always a lottery. Shame he faded away in the 3rd set. Do you think Gulbis making a come-back after his truly awful year ’til now? I hope so, as crazy forehand aside, I quite like watching him.

        I’ve noticed that the only time I get a response from you is when I’m due a correction. ๐Ÿ˜†

      5. Depends what you mean by comeback… I can see him getting inside the Top 20 again but not any higher than he was last year. See how he does next week at Vancouver Challenger…

        I think he’s decent to watch too, has decent variety of shot and can hit some flashy winners.

        I might pick him to make 2nd week at USO ๐Ÿ˜†

      6. Okay, I get the 1000 for Cincy coming off (forgotten it would be quite this soon, though), but then why does he lose 990?! What happened to the other 10? 15 points currently in it between Roger and Andy if Andy loses today – but as I’ve been saying for months I was expecting him to have overtaken Roger by now anyway. Wonder if he might actually beat Novak for once – you never know, he might be tired playing doubles and singles. Oops, no, wrong person.

      7. He bought 10 points on the ATP black market. Can’t really talk about it here but a lot of the top guys have been doing it over the years to boost their rankings. ๐Ÿ˜†

        1st Round bye in Cincy, you get the 10 points for it.

      8. Same difference say if you lost 2nd Round in a Masters 1000 last year, and won it this year, you’d get 990 added.

        Interesting stat actually – which players have lost 2nd round of a M1000 after getting a bye then won it the year after?

        Djokovic has done it twice – Miami 06 & 07 and Paris 12 & 13.

        Nadal did it in Rome 08 and 09.

        Fed has never done it but he has lost 1st Round (no bye) and then Won it – in Cincinnati. 04 & 05.

        Murray has never done it but same as Fed he lost 1st Round of Cincy then won it year after. 07 & 08.

  1. late again.. ๐Ÿ™

    ok now it is time to put tiger prediction based on this ๐Ÿ™‚
    I based my wimbledon prediction on Jonathan review, end up no 6 in peRFect Tennis League (my best so far) and 69 in overall (for sure, because we are predicting Federer to win, didn’t we?)

    I will repeat again this time ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thanks in advance Jonathan

    anyway, nice review as usual. And waiting for the outfit post


    1. Just go with your own instinct, I haven’t won an iPhone 6 yet so copying me not the greatest formula ๐Ÿ˜†

      I’m more about predicting upsets / long odds wins rather than every match.

      1. It is, indeed. Just checked it out on YouTube. The forehand take back is also like Sampras. And the backhand would have been similar too, had it not been for the high take back.

        Looks like he really has modeled himself on Sampras.

      1. This years Newport Champion. Pretty good game, think he had a fair bit of hype back in the day as a youngster but never really hit the big time.

  2. I see Fed wearing Stan shorts. So hard to predict results. So many players with some sort of injury. How fatigued will players be after Montreal? Decisions, decisions.

    Hey, got a great birthday present for IW. Great for the heat…playing or watching sports. It’s a Relaxus Tropi-Cool Towel. Get it wet and stays cool…awesome invention.

  3. Thanks for the preview Jonathan. I certainly hope your Tomic def Nishi prediction/upset doesn’t come true – can’t stand Tomic, and I’m never happier than when he loses – mean, but there it is. It’s taking Raonic some time to recover from the foot surgery, but I’m sort of thinking the faster courts of Cincinnati may be his turning point. Remembering that 2013 was Feds’ low point and yet he still managed to push Nadal to 3 sets, a meet-up between them might be a good thing. ๐Ÿ™‚

    All I care about though is our Feds retaining the title. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I want that too Susie, but Cincy will be Kei’s third touramnent in three weeks… Well he’s yet to play the semi in Montreal, perhaps he will do the job there?

  4. I like that he’ll play Cuevas or RBA first up – will give him a chance to get his forehand sharp from the get go. Would be very interesting to see a Fedal QF but it really wouldn’t stun me if Chardy or Raonic beat him. Rafa’s depth of shot is horrid right now and if Roger’s backhand is working I see no reason why he can’t beat Rafa. Form wise this year he’s undoubtedly been the better player and he’ll be way fresher too.

  5. Not gonna lie, didn’t miss tennis after Wimby and was happy to see Fed skip Rogers Cup. But after seeing the tennis get back in action (or should i say more scandal than tennis?…) I can’t wait until Rog gets back on court, even if it means I say goodbye to sleep! Testing draw for him to come back to whilst juggling the rust. Cincy always a happy hunting ground for him and one of the few places left for his style of play to give him a leg up against Novak. The Fedal potential is a toss up yet again, underestimating Nadal’s ability to remind Fed of their history is a big no no. Would like to see Roger recharged and ready to go for the Open and deny Novak the M1000 haul- that’s not too much to ask right? Allez!

    Also I see Fed has lost the no.2 raking to Muzz. Novak and Roger on the same side in NY?

    1. Yeah, that ranking… I was afraid of that for some time, but he should be able to end this year as number 3, thus breaking Connors’ record of number of weeks being in the top 3.
      Nadal won’t make it past Rancic, by the way.

    2. Yeah I haven’t watched much at all since Wimbledon. Few highlight reels here and there from some of the clay and Montreal but that’s it.

      Doubt Fed is too fussed about ranking, can’t be #1 so no difference between 2, 3 or 4 really.

      I wonder if Murray will ever be ranked #1 in his career?

      1. It’s a good question (re Murray and the #1 ranking) and one that I would’ve replied no with until this year where he showed he can adapt his game to clay. Just got his first win over Djoker after 2 years so putting himself into contention because it’s pretty evident now that Fed or Rafa probably won’t get to the top of the rankings again themselves.

  6. Oh no, a bagel? What happened to Kei? Injured again?

    Thanks for the draw post. A good summer so far if you have one in northern England, Jonathan? Cincy is one of my favourite tournaments for obvious reason. Tough draw for Fed, hope he plays the day matches and hope for the best.

    1. Kei did win Washington. According to news, he said he was tired and ‘a bit sore’ – not exactly sure if that’s just general soreness or what, but there was no mention of injury. He did fade badly in that second set though, not pushing up on his serve, and was walking quite gingerly. Very fragile is Kei: that’s his main problem.

    2. Nishikori already looks to be an injury magnet so ealry in his career. Will be tough to defend those final points from USO.

  7. By the way, I donโ€™t often read about other players but I came across this piece and found quite interesting.
    It writes โ€œNadal plays not to lose, Federer plays for the beautiful winning points and Djokovic, the little jerk, to make his opponent lose.โ€ Isnโ€™t it kind of accurate, especially Novak?

    Hereโ€™s the link if youโ€™d like to read more.

    1. Wanda I couldn’t open the link but I find that statement explains the psyche of three very well too! Esp. ND, he comes across very intimidating to me. It seems the whole reason he plays is to intimidate and dominate his opponents. I don’t like it at all, not one little bit.

  8. Some more tennis ‘gossip’. More feathers flying: Mo looked like he meant business. ๐Ÿ˜†

    Don’t know exact reason – Kokkinakis ‘banging’ Ryan’s girlfriend? ๐Ÿ˜‰ but:

    Ben Rothenberg โ€@BenRothenberg
    “He’s 19. If he wants to get into it, I will bury him. Wawrinka should’ve decked Kyrgios, and I should deck that kid.” -Ryan Harrison

    Ben Rothenberg โ€@BenRothenberg
    In general, Harrison seemed to be taking out all of his dislike for Kyrgios (and there’s a lot) on Kokkinakis, conflating the twoโ€ฆ

    1. Looks like Ryan doesn’t like the Kokk ๐Ÿ˜†

      The ATP need to encourage more of this kind of stuff and think of new marketing tricks. Gets way more attention than anything pure tennis related.

      I hope someone can leak a video of Federer and Luthi boxing in his kitchen and one of them getting knocked out. Then he could do a boxing orientated celebration when he wins a match.

    2. Jonathan’s right- ATP living of the drama right now. The fact that they slapped a fine on Kyrgios alone just shows he’s becoming their new cash cow in the game.

  9. Murray wins Toronto. Fully entrenched #2 for US Open barring some catastrophe at Cincinnati? And then maybe still #2?

    I for one am glad. I hope Fed has to meet Novak in the semis. No matter what it’s a huge ask , but if that’s where they meet hopefully he has fresher legs than he would in the finals. I think that means much more than #2 if he has any shot. (And maybe slightly less pressure?)

    1. Am certainly no fan of Murray but was pleased to see him win tonight – I’ve had more than enough of Djokovic winning. I must say they do both play ugly tennis though (with the odd spectacular shot).
      Its not a completely done deal for No.2 for USO Fed just has to beat Murray on the way to winning the Cinci title. Easy.
      Also I agree he would be better meeting Djok in the semis at US – should they both get there.
      I wonder if Djok might withdraw from Cinci – think he might if he wasnt going for his 1000’s slam

    2. Agree- think Murray needed a win over him after so long. Regardless, Djoker will be more focused on Cincy and has an ideal path to the final. Let’s hope Fed can toss his hat into the ring.

  10. Worst case scenario for Federer is him losing to Nadal at the Cincinnati QF and giving him confidence again ahead of US Open.

    Interesting that Murray is 5-1 H2H against Djokovic in the US Open series.

      1. Yeah, his final record in NY is puzzling. Definitely will be surprising to see him end up with more Wimbledons on his cabinet over US Opens when all is said and then.

  11. Murray managed to keep it together. I found myself rooting for him. murray did hit some good passing shots. Also Bencic won in Toronto. It was a good match but unfortunately Halep had to retire in the 3rd set.
    Both courts were almost 50 degree c. at some point. Too bloody hot to play tennis.

    On to Cinci.

  12. Well after talk of just ‘soreness/tiredness’, clearly there is an injury (hip) as Kei has just pulled out of Cincinnati. Tomic has thus dodged a bullet, IMO if not Jonathan’s ๐Ÿ˜‰ – bums.

    Congrats to Murray on win, thoroughly deserved, yes I know it cements No2 for him, but he had that anyway, and it was so good to see the patronizing smirks wiped off the faces of Djokovic and Vadja. And on a further selfish note, an almost 3 hour match (and 9 matches (doubles+singles)) played by Novak – and (apparently) the slightly dodgy elbow, leaves him as a bit of a question mark. He should have breathed in a bit more of the cannabis fug that was (according to him) leaving him dizzy. ๐Ÿ˜†

      1. I dont agree at all. He was experimenting with a ultra aggressive style which was exciting to watch. If it was routine he would have played more conservatively when appropriate and beaten him 2 and 1.

        He wont of course continue in that vein and we can expect to see a more judged performance against Sock or Anderson and even more so if he gets further than that

        It goes to show why he has had such continuing success in that he is is prepared to change things up

      2. He’s been looking to play aggressive for the last 2 years though. It looked hyper aggressive because he was playing a guy that can’t hurt him on the court in any shape or form.

        Look where he returned his second serve, it was a joke. No way he can do something like that against most players.

        Big over reaction from Bodo after one match, that article should come after a tournament, not from 1 hours play against Bautista-Agut.

      3. To his credit, Bodo did clearly points out that Roger figured that Opponent not going to hurt and employed ultra aggressive play then all hyped up saying if he could do that in all matches…….

        Have to agree with J here, his intention is clearly hyping up as not much to report on routine victory….And I am sure he understand that article about Roger going to have more hits….

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