The ATP Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati is the second Masters event of the American hard court swing, which includes the US Open. Daniil Medvedev, the first seed here will try to back up his win at Toronto with a title here. The Toronto-Cincinnati double is difficult to complete due to the fast courts and big servers. A good performance here typically translates into another one at the US Open. The draw is more unpredictable than ever now with Alexander Zverev and Matteo Berrettini returning to action.
We also predict the rest of Tuesday’s ATP Cincinnati matches, split between three other articles. They feature Lloyd Harris vs Alexander Zverev, Benoit Paire vs Denis Shapovalov, and Matteo Berrettini vs Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
ATP Cincinnati Day 2 Predictions
Aslan Karatsev vs Marin Cilic
Head-to-head: first meeting
Aslan Karatsev took to the hard courts like a duck to water at Melbourne, before carrying his form to clay. He has an ATP 500 title to his name and an Australian Open semifinal performance. On fast courts, he seems to struggle a bit, as we saw during the grass-court swing and at Tokyo. The Cincinnati courts are pretty quick and challenging for him. It will be interesting to see how he adapts. Marin Cilic is coming into the match from a loss to Casper Ruud, who is not necessarily a very good player on hardcourts. Cilic can be called guilty of giving away too many free points in that match. He has a great serve, probably one of the greatest, but a solid baseline game is needed to use the serve to full effect.
The duo has never contested a match before as Karatsev has not spent even a year at the top. Karatsev has raw power and excellent court coverage. His forehand is unstoppable on his day, and no one can keep up with it for three sets. Karatsev has struggled with consistency in his last few matches, which is not acceptable against Cilic. Though his serve is strong as ever, Cilic doesn’t have strong groundstrokes as before. The player with a better baseline game will be the winner here. Cilic is always consistent at the year-end hardcourt swing, as all big servers are. This is not at all an easy one for Karatsev, but I think he will prevail in this match.
Prediction: Karatsev in 3
Cristian Garin vs Tommy Paul
Head-to-head: Garin 1-0 Paul
Cristian Garin is not an impressive player on hard courts at all. His last win on a hard court came in 2020, after which he has played only four matches, losing all of them. Otherwise, Garin is a decent player overall, deserving to be ranked inside the top 20. He made the fourth round at both the French Open and Wimbledon. After that, Garin has had lackluster performances. Tommy Paul, the local star, came through the qualifying rounds to play in the main draw. In the second qualifying round, he defeated Tennys Sandgren in three long sets. There is no way he would give up without a fight.
Paul hasn’t shown great results on hard either, but he made it to the main draw of the Toronto Masters. In the first round, he defeated Canadian Vasek Pospisil. Paul has powerful groundstrokes, with a lot of depth on them. However, against Garin, this tactic will not be very effective as his game is made for defense. He cannot beat Garin at his own game. Garin and Paul have played one match before in 2018, at a challenger event. Garin won the match in straight sets, and it was conducted on a hard court. Three years hence, Paul has developed a lot and will challenge Garin. But I reckon Garin will come on top again, this time in three sets.
Prediction: Garin in 2
Fabio Fognini vs Guido Pella
Head-to-head: Fognini 4-2 Pella
Fabio Fognini defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili in his first-round match here at the ATP Cincinnati. The first set alone saw four service breaks, which is not a good sign for Fognini. He suffered a straight-set defeat at the hands of Andrey Rublev at Toronto. His first-round victory against a strong opponent should boost his confidence, which is much needed. Guido Pella made short work of David Goffin in the first round, converting four out of ten break points he set up. If he can play the way he did in the first round, Fognini has an uphill task ahead of him.
Fognini leads the head to head by two wins. He won their two most recent very easily in three sets, the first at the Australian Open, and the second at the Geneva Open on clay. Pella likes to be the enforcer in the point, sometimes rushing to the net without proper setup. Fognini exploited this weakness to full effect at the Australian Open. His defense was on another level in that match. If Fognini can maintain his fitness throughout, we should see him advance.
Prediction: Fognini in 3
Roberto Bautista Agut vs Grigor Dimitrov
Head-to-head: Bautista Agut 1-4 Dimitrov
Grigor Dimitrov is going through a horrible dip in performance for years. It is painful for any tennis fan to see such a big drop in his performance. Dimitrov’s last hard court win came against Miomir Kecmanovic at the Acapulco Open. Since then, he has four wins in ten tournaments. This stat speaks volumes of his inconsistency and below-par performances. Roberto Bautista Agut, aged 33, has a handful of years ahead of himself and is trying to get the most out of them. He has always been a very good player on hard courts due to his strong defense. He is coming off a quarterfinal appearance at the Toronto Masters and will try to carry his form here.
Dimitrov leads their head-to-head comfortably enough. The pair first met in 2010, and still, this is only their sixth meeting. Dimitrov hasn’t played close to his past level for a long time now. Bautista Agut, on the other hand, has shown decent results on fast courts recently. At the Toronto Masters, both of them lost to the same opponent, Reilly Opelka. Comparing their performances against Opelka, it seems like Bautista Agut gave him more of a fight than Dimitrov. Bautista Agut is ranked higher than Dimitrov and is fresh from two wins. It looks like Bautista Agut will shorten the head-to-head gap.
Prediction: Bautista Agut in 2
Main Photo from Getty.