The Roger's Cup is still in full swing but with Cincinnati starting on Monday the draw is out and Roger has a very similar route to the final to the one in Toronto.
Cincinnati has been a great tournament over the years for the Swiss; both the court and the venue seem to bring out his very best tennis. With Fed either losing early or not playing the Roger's Cup in the last 3 years I've always had high expectations going into Cincy but this year is going to be quite difficult I think. If Fed is to make the final in Toronto it could be a big ask to perform well in back to back Masters 1000 tournaments especially as he has already played two tough 3 setters against Cilic and Ferrer this week. Fed went 33 yesterday and although he plays the most efficient game on tour he's not 22 any more so a potential 10 matches in 14 days is going to be tricky.
Federer's Projected Opponents
- 1st Round: Bye
- 2nd Round: Stepanek / Pospisil
- 3rd Round: Bautisita-Agust / Monfils
- Quarter Final: Murray
- Semi Final: Raonic / Berdych
- Final: Djokovic
Thoughts on the Draw
First up for Roger will be the winner of Stepanek / Pospisil. Quite tough to call but I'll pick Stepanek as I think he's too wily a competitor for Pospisil who is still inexperienced despite making the final in Washington 2 weeks ago. Stepanek has been known to cause Fed problems from time to time and they've played each other twice already this year, Fed winning both encounters although the one in Monte Carlo wasn't easy.
If Pospisil comes through then I'm not sure how that match up goes, they played last year when Fed was rebuilding his form after the USO and had a close one but Fed prevailed. However 2014 Fed will be too good for him I feel to really be overly challenged.
3rd Round looks like another good one for Fed with Bautista-Agut or Monfils the likely opponents. I hadn't seen much of Bautista-Agut until I saw him vs. Murray at Wimbledon and the guy has zero power on his groundstrokes. Quite strange how he is ranked so well with such a pusher game and I can't really see how he threatens Fed on one of his favourite hardcourts. Monfils on the other hand as we know is a loose cannon, one match he has one of the biggest forehands on tour, the next he chooses to just push the ball in play. Much depends on which Gael turns up but I'd like to see Fed take him out after Shanghai last year.
The Quarter Finals is where it gets interesting as Murray is the seeded opponent. He's been saying how it's great to train at 100% again but then lost 5 games in a row vs. Tsonga to lose in the Quarters in Toronto so his form is questionable. Always a tough matchup for Fed in non slams as Murray bores him to sleep with how he plays. Would be the first time these 2 have played since the Australian Open though so could be interesting. If Roger is holding up physically well after Toronto I'd pick him to win but if he's feeling a little laboured in the legs then Murray is the kind of player to exploit it.
Into the semi's and seeded opponents are either Berdych or Raonic are the likely opponents. There's no real dangermen in their sections of the draw so I think they could meet in meet in the Quarters. Berdych isn't playing that well this year but just doing enough to stick around the top 5. Raonic is having a good year but I wouldn't say he's necessarily broken through as he doesn't have many big wins on his resume yet.
The final would then likely be against Djokovic who has a good record in Cincy making four finals but is yet to win it. He of course crashed out early to Tsonga at the Roger's Cup but I expect him to bounce back though ahead of the USO and this is arguably the more important event heading into New York. If he were to win he'd also have won every single Masters 1000 at least once. He could face Simon in the 2nd round though who I think could test him.
Elsewhere in the Draw
Not a full strength field here as Rafael Nadal, Juan Martin del Potro, Kei Nishikori and Alexandr Dolgopolov are all missing and having quickly scanned the draw there aren't too many exciting first round matches.
I'm thinking Isner might do well here ahead of the USO as the surface should suit his game. He has to get past Kevin Anderson who made the Quarters in Toronto but I think Anderson prefers a slightly slower surface like we see in Canada, Indian Wells etc.
Ferrer could also make the latter stages after his performance in Toronto, I expected Fed to roll him over but it looked like he had got himself back into some form with the way he played.
What do you think? Is it a tough ask for Fed to perform at back to back Masters 1000's?