ATP Cincinnati Masters Quarterfinal Predictions Including Novak Djokovic vs Jan-Lennard Struff

Milos Raonic in action at the Cincinnati Masters

It has been an entertaining week so far at the Cincinnati Masters, relocated this year to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Just eight men remain in contention ahead of what should be a thrilling quarterfinals day. But who will book their place in the last four?

ATP Cincinnati Masters Quarterfinal Predictions

Daniil Medvedev vs Roberto Bautista Agut

Head-to-head: Bautista Agut 1-0 Medvedev

Daniil Medvedev has made a very solid start to his title defence at the Cincinnati Masters. The Russian, after a first-round bye, opened his campaign with a composed 6-4 6-4 win over the qualifier Marcos Giron and backed that up by beating Slovakia’s Aljaz Bedene, who also qualified into the main draw, 6-3 6-3. But he is set to face a real step up in the quality of his opposition when he steps on to court to play eighth seed Roberto Bautista Agut for a place in the last four.

The Spaniard, who enjoyed a career-best season in 2019 highlighted by a run to the semifinals at Wimbledon, also received a first-round bye. That saw him begin his campaign against Richard Gasquet, who reached the US Open semifinals in 2013 but has looked to be on the decline in recent seasons. The first set was close, but Bautista Agut sealed it with a late break and dominated thereafter, winning 7-5 6-1. He then rallied from a set down to beat 11th seed Karen Khachanov 4-6 6-3 6-2.

This looks likely to be a closely fought contest. Both men are excellent movers who will give little away from the baseline. Medvedev has the better backhand, but Bautista Agut has the superior forehand. But what may give Medvedev the decisive advantage is his serve. Bautista Agut has a functional enough serve, and his second delivery is hard to attack, but he struggles to win free points off it. That is not true of the 6’6” Medvedev and those aces and unreturned serves stand to be the difference.

Prediction: Medvedev in 3
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Novak Djokovic vs Jan-Lennard Struff

Head-to-head: Djokovic 3-0 Struff

Jan-Lennard Struff has struggled to string good performances together throughout his career. It’s the reason that he is one of the highest-ranked men never to have played in a tour-level final. However, that should distract from the excellent 18 months the German has put together under the tutelage of Carsten Arriens. So far this week he has scored excellent wins over Alex de Minaur, Denis Shapovalov and David Goffin, all of whom sit above him in the ATP rankings.

His reward is a first quarterfinal at a Masters 1000 level and a shot at the world #1 Novak Djokovic. The great Serbian started his Cincinnati Masters campaign in indifferent fashion against Ricardas Berankis. But despite falling a break behind in the first set and twice in the second set, he managed to complete a 7-6 6-4 victory. And he stepped up his level in the third round to dismiss Tennys Sandgren in short order, 6-2 6-4, despite a valiant rearguard action from the American.

He will surely head into this quarterfinal full of confidence as a result. A confidence that will be bolstered by having won all three of his previous meetings with Struff, dropping just one set in the process. Struff does have enough power, as well as deft touch at the net, to make life uncomfortable for Djokovic. But ultimately the Serbian moves well enough and, crucially, returns well enough that he should prove a challenge too far for Struff.

Prediction: Djokovic in 2
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Reilly Opelka vs Stefanos Tsitsipas

Head-to-head: first meeting

Stefanos Tsitsipas, seeded fourth at the Cincinnati Masters, began his campaign against Kevin Anderson after a first-round bye. The South African, once ranked as high as 5th in the world, who was visibly weary after a long first-round battle with Kyle Edmund, was able to offer little resistance, losing 1-6 6-3. But Tsitsipas was made to work hard in the last 16 by John Isner, but ultimately overcame the American #1 in two tiebreaks to reach the quarterfinals.

There he will face the in-form Reilly Opelka. The big-serving American started his week with a comprehensive 6-3 6-4 win over the British qualifier Cameron Norrie and has only improved since. In the second round, he overpowered Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman, seeded ninth, to win 7-6 6-3 and he followed that with a 6-3 7-6 win over sixth seed and 2019 US Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini. Now he will seek what would be the biggest scalp of his career when he faces Tsitsipas.

The Greek, however, has arguably had the perfect preparation for facing Opelka. Like Anderson and Isner, Opelka’s biggest weapon is his serve and he has used it to devastating effect so far in New York, firing down 50 aces. But Tsitsipas was able to take the sting out of Isner’s serve with some effective chipped returns before working over the big man in the rallies. Opelka is that much more effective off the ground than his countryman, but a similar approach should still pay dividends for the Greek.

Prediction: Tsitsipas in 3
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Milos Raonic vs Filip Krajinovic

Head-to-head: first meeting

Filip Krajinovic must have used the break in the season to good effect, because he has looked like a man possessed so far in Cincinnati. He began his week with a solid 7-5 6-4 win over the Italian qualifier Salvatore Caruso, before hammering second seed and three-time Grand Slam finalist Dominic Thiem 6-1 6-2, losing only two points behind his serve. He was in similarly destructive form in the third round, brushing aside Marton Fucsovics by the same score to reach his second Masters 1000 quarterfinal.

His opponent there will be Milos Raonic. The Canadian, who has battled injury over the past three years, at last looks to have regained his fitness and he has impressed so far in New York. In his opener, he proved too sharp for Sam Querrey, winning 6-4 6-4, and he backed that up with a 6-3 7-5 win over Dan Evans. He then thrashed Andy Murray 6-2 6-2, with the Briton looking drained after two taxing matches against Frances Tiafoe and Alexander Zverev.

Raonic’s serve has been particularly impressive, but the Canadian has also done considerable damage with his forehand. Relying on those two shots, he has been able to deny his opponents rhythm by going for early winners. He will need to do the same against Krajinovic, who will surely have the advantage in any longer rallies. Raonic would also do well to return aggressively, with Krajinovic having been serving superbly. Ultimately, however, Raonic’s power should just about give him the edge.

Prediction: Raonic in 3

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