The men's U.S. Open Emirates Airline Series continues in Cincinnati, Ohio with the Western & Southern Open on Monday. Scot (2) Andy Murray and Spaniard (3) David Ferrer look to bounce back from early exits in Montreal while (5) Roger Federer of Switzerland is expected to make his 2013 debut as a five seed.
The number five and Federer do not look right together unless you're talking about the number of times he's won the Western & Southern Open. Roger has taken the Cincinnati crown in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012.
Strangely it's been Serb (1) Novak Djokovic not once winning here playing second fiddle four times in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012 with runner-up finishes. Murray won the title in 2008 and 2011. So Djokovic's championship defeats have come twice each to "Andy the Wonderful" and "the Swiss Master."
Not that bad for Nole who lost a tight affair at the Rogers Cup to (4) Rafael Nadal of Spain. Nadal was a 2008 and 2009 Cincinnati semifinalist and just boasts a 13-8 record at this event however.
Argentine (7) Juan Martin del Potro (6-3), Canadian (12) Milos Raonic (3-1) and Frenchman (15) Gilles Simon (9-6) are three other seeds beside Federer, the Scot and Serb to have better records at the Western & Southern Open. Raonic battled the Spaniard Sunday for the top prize in Montreal while Nadal's quarter-finals opponent there (16) Jerzy Janowicz of Poland makes his Cincinnati debut.
Tyrone's Western & Southern Open Draw of Death: (1) Djokovic's and (2) Murray's draws are no cake walks as Andy alone has a possible rematch clause with Latvian Ernests Gulbis awaiting during the second round. Gulbis banished the Scot during the third round last week in straight sets.
However it's so hard to not pick (4) Rafael's grouping. The last time I picked the Spaniard's section to be the most explosive, Nadal and (5) Roger were sent home early at Wimbledon. In order for the both gentlemen to not work their way through to at least the round of 16 something equally shocking will need to occur.
After Rafa's long week in Canada the Spaniard possibly could be on UPSET ALERT. A bye and then qualifier however practically erase thouse thoughts as well as seed (13) Nicolas Almagro of Spain his possible third-round foe. The higher seeded Spaniard has owned Almagro 10-0 all-time in singles matchups. Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov or Uzbeki Denis Istomin seem to be tougher obstacles for Nadal who should await the Swiss during the quarters.
All Federer has to accomplish to book a spot during the quarterfinals is dispatch Mardy Fish of the United States or German Philipp Kohlschreiber and then probably another German (11) Tommy Haas. Kevin Anderson of South Africa, Marcel Granollers of Spain and Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic are also potential third-round conquests for Roger.
Tyrone's Western & Southern Open First-Round Shocker: Czech Radek Stepanek is poised to do it again. A week after eliminating (13) Nicolas from Canada during the first round Stepanek faces (14) Fabio Fognini of Italy right away.
Fognini won the first fight 6-2 6-4 in 2010 Toronto while a year later Radek moved on 6-3 7-6(5) in Miami. Both bouts came during the first round on hard court. Fabio's lack of hard-court tests this summer though will fail him in Cincinnati.