ATP Cincinnati Masters Day 1 Predictions Including Marin Cilic vs Denis Shapovalov

Denis Shapovalov in action at the Cincinnati Masters

After over five months without competitive men’s tennis, the ATP Tour returns with an unusual Cincinnati Masters. For the first time in its history, the tournament will be held away from Mason, Ohio, having been relocated to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York due to the travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Amongst those in action are former-champion Andy Murray, who faces Frances Tiafoe. Still there should still be plenty of entertaining action on day one. But who will reach the second round?

Cincinnati Masters Day One Predictions

Nikoloz Basilashvili vs Felix Auger-Aliassime

Head-to-head: Auger-Aliassime 2-0 Basilashvili

Felix Auger-Aliassime may have a rather worrying record in ATP finals, but the Canadian nonetheless appears to have an exceedingly bright future in the game. Although he lacks one standout weapon, there are no real holes in his game and he can hurt opponents with both his forehand and backhand, whilst his serve is also a useful weapon. He has also proved himself to be an excellent mover and a fierce competitor.

Nikoloz Basilashvili, meanwhile, has plenty of quality of his own, including a fearsome forehand. But he has struggled at times due to a lack of a plan b and has lost both of his previous meetings with Auger-Aliassime, which came in 2019 at the Miami Open and on the clay in Lyon. That rather suggests that this is a match up the Canadian enjoys, with Basilashvili perhaps guilty of allowing him too much rhythm at times. Auger-Aliassime won’t have things all his own way, but expect him to have enough to advance.

Prediction: Auger-Aliassime in 3
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Jan-Lennard Struff vs Alex de Minaur

Head-to-head: de Minaur 2-0 Struff

Alex de Minaur had been playing some excellent tennis prior to the lockdown, helping to guide Australia into the ATP Cup semifinals, although injury did force him out of his home Slam at Melbourne Park. He will surely be targeting a strong end to this abridged season and he appears to enjoy the conditions in New York, having reached the fourth round at the US Open last season, where it took an excellent performance from eventual semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov to halt his charge.

Jan-Lennard Struff has been playing some fine tennis in his own right, however. The German reached the second week at a Grand Slam for the first time last season at the French Open and although he has never played in a tour-level final, he has established himself as a solid member of the top 50. But he has lost both of his previous matches against de Minaur, having struggled to break down the Australian’s defence. Expect a similar result in their third clash.

Prediction: de Minaur in 2
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Filip Krajinovic vs Salvatore Caruso

Head-to-head: Krajinovic 1-0 Caruso

Filip Krajinovic may have rather overachieved by reaching the Paris Masters final back in 2017, but the Serbian is a solid player with an impressively accurate forehand the pick of his shots. And he has demonstrated his quality over the last 18 months, rallying from a disappointing 2018 campaign to re-establish himself as a member of the world’s top 100. His current ranking of world #32 just six places down from his career-high of 26th in the world.

Salvatore Caruso is a player cut from a similar cloth as the Serbian, with the Italian also a good mover who is greatest strength lies in his accuracy rather than his power. But he has enjoyed the majority of his success on the clay and below tour-level. In fact, he enters this match seeking just the tenth ATP win of his career. In contrast, Krajinovic has 72 wins at tour-level to his name. Krajinovic also beat Caruso handily in their only previous match. Expect him to prevail again.

Prediction: Krajinovic in 2
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Marin Cilic vs Denis Shapovalov

Head-to-head: Shapovalov 2-1 Cilic

This looks like one of the most intriguing matches of the first round. Marin Cilic is not the force he once was, having fallen away badly since losing the Australian Open final in 2018, but he is still a former US Open and Cincinnati Masters champion, with the Croatian having enjoyed the greatest successes of his career on North American hard courts. But he may well need to recapture some of that old magic when he takes on the 12th seeded Denis Shapovalov.

The Canadian has made impressive progress of late, adding some much-needed tactical discipline to his exuberant game, particularly when returning. Those improvements were in evidence as he reached the final at the Paris Masters last season, although he made an indifferent start to 2020, losing to Marton Fucsovics in four sets in the first round at the Australian Open. Nonetheless, with his power and newfound accuracy, he should have just enough to hit through Cilic and reach the second round at the Cincinnati Masters.

Prediction: Shapovalov in 3

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