Day 4 of the ATP Cincinnati Masters is upon us, and there are some terrific encounters in store. 2019 champion, top seed, and World #2 Daniil Medvedev enters the fray after winning his fourth Masters 1000 in Toronto last week, and it’s looking like his US hard court swing prowess is well and truly back. A number of high quality matches await us, and we will be offering up our predictions on who will advance to the next round.
As always, we predict all of the matches, split between four articles. The other three feature Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Sebastian Korda, Karen Khachanov vs Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Hubert Hurkacz vs Andy Murray.
ATP Cincinnati Day 4 Predictions
Fabio Fognini vs Guido Pella
Head-to-head: Fognini 3-2 Pella
Two of the older players on tour face off in what should be an interesting match. Both players are equipped with big weapons in their serves and powerful groundstrokes, and the clash between Pella’s left-handed spin and Fognini’s punching shots should be fascinating to see. Pella came up with a great straight sets win over 15th seed David Goffin, while Fognini saw off a stern challenge in Basilashvili.
Fognini leads the head-to-head slimly, though the majority of their matches have been on clay. Fognini comfortably won their only encounter on a hard court which came at the Australian Open last year, and this could prove important. The courts in Cincinnati are quick just as they are in Melbourne, which suits Fognini’s game pretty nicely. Both players are playing some good tennis right now and this could well go the distance, but Fognini’s hard court prowess should be what seals him the win.
Prediction: Fognini in 3
Casper Ruud vs Reilly Opelka
Head-to-head: Ruud 1 – 0 Opelka
A big contrast of styles here as the big serving and powerful Opelka takes on the consistent and tenacious Ruud. Opelka was fantastic in Toronto last week and his level is very high right now. He was challenged by Moutet in his first round, but did well to come through in a tight battle. This suggests he may be struggling with a bit of fatigue, and Ruud won’t be an ideal opponent to face if this is the case.
Though Casper Ruud favors the clay, he’s definitely starting to expand his game to the hard courts. However, the enormous serve and forehand from Opelka on these quick courts will cause him plenty of problems as he will have far less to time to react as he would on clay. He’s an excellent grinder and will have his opportunities to move Opelka around the court, but the American’s form is so good right now it’s tough to not pick him in this kind of match-up. Expect a tight match that may go either way depending on the American’s fitness, but Opelka should win this one.
Prediction: Opelka in 3
Gael Monfils vs Alex De Minaur
Head-to-head: First meeting
Two of the quickest and best athletes on tour face off for the first time. Gael Monfils has finally found some form again and is playing some wonderful tennis. The dynamism and firepower we’re so used to seeing has returned and it’s simply a joy to watch. His speed is usually so incredible, but his next opponent is regarded as one of, if not the fastest player in the world.
Alex De Minaur has been in pretty shocking form recently. After a crushing loss to Basilashvili in Toronto, it now seems he may have turned this around. He lost the first set in his first round against Krajinovic 6-0 before fighting back and winning in three sets. De Minaur is a superb player and he suits the fast courts excellently, and a return to form is much needed for him. However, he’s now up against an inspired Monfils who is a danger to anyone. Monfils is also the more powerful and better shot-maker of the two. The athleticism that both players possess could well see this match going the distance, but the resurgent Frenchman should come out on top.
Prediction: Monfils in 3
Daniil Medvedev vs Mackenzie McDonald
Head-to-head: Medvedev 3 – 0 McDonald
Daniil Medvedev clearly loves this time of the year. The 2019 champion brings out his best tennis regularly in the US hard court swing, and he looked imperious in Toronto as the week went on. His serve is absolutely firing right now and he’s covering the court as well as we’ve seen anyone do in recent years. The variation and dominance he is displaying puts him in a great position this week as well as heading into the US open.
Mackenzie McDonald did a good job of putting away fellow countryman Nakashima in straight sets, but this is a huge task. Medvedev is the man to beat right now, and McDonald has never managed to do so. The American will not be a piece of cake for the Russian, but it’s very hard to see him causing any major problems. Medvedev is returning so well right now, as we saw him dismantling both Opelka and Isner last week, breaking them both multiple times. McDonald’s serve isn’t much of a weapon and Medvedev will be putting huge amounts of pressure on the American’s serve, while firing down monster serves of his own.
Medvedev is a man on a mission right now, and unfortunately for McDonald this looks to be a tough encounter.
Prediction: Medvedev in 2
Main Photo from Getty.