Day 5 of the ATP Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati is here! It’s been an incredible week of action in the Queen City and the fun continues with more scintillating matchups on Day 5. Who will win and who will fall short? I give my best guesses. We predict all the day’s matches, with the other four in a separate article.
ATP Cincinnati Day 5 Predictions
John Isner vs Benoit Paire
Head to Head: tied 1-1
John Isner is having an incredible summer hard-court swing. The American won Atlanta, made the semifinals in Toronto, and is now in the Round of 16 in Cincinnati. Isner only faced two break points in his entire previous match against Jannik Sinner. Benoit Paire is having a revitalizing summer. Paire’s groundstrokes are much more consistent than they were earlier this season and his backhand is finally a huge weapon once again. Against Denis Shapovalov in his previous match in Cincinnati, Paire held Shapovalov to 59% of his service points won and broke the Canadian’s serve five times.
The head to head is tied 1-1, with both matchups on hard courts. This match will likely come down to a handful of points, as Isner is a top-notch server and poor returner. Who do I trust more to win a crucial tiebreak or break point? Isner. The American is playing with a lot of confidence and is much more used to playing these tight matches. Paire’s concentration during matches is certainly not a strength and I don’t trust him to rise to the occasion in this match.
Prediction: Isner in 3
Gael Monfils vs Andrey Rublev
Head to Head: 1-0 Monfils
Gael Monfils’ form is picking up in recent tournaments. The Frenchman won 67% of his service points compared to 56% for De Minaur. Andrey Rublev survived a tricky match against Marin Cilic to kick off his Cincinnati campaign. Rublev won 83% of his first-serve points and served 11 aces, coming back from a set down to beat Cilic.
Monfils leads the head to head 1-0, but Rublev has improved tremendously since that 2018 match. I’m still a bit worried about Monfils’ fitness, given how he looked injured in Toronto. I also think that there’s a good chance that Rublev’s relentless, huge groundstrokes will be prove to be too much for Monfils, who has the tendency to get a bit too defensive at times. Players don’t want to get too defensive against Rublev, as he will control the baseline and run them ragged. While Rublev might have a set where he overhits, I was encouraged enough by his win over Cilic to think he sneaks this match out. Rublev wins a close one.
Prediction: Rublev in 3
Lorenzo Sonego vs Stefanos Tsitispas
Head to Head: 1-0 Tsitsipas
Lorenzo Sonego did well to beat a tough opponent in Tommy Paul to advance to the Round of 16 in Cincinnati. Sonego won 81% of his first-serve points and wasn’t broken in the straight-sets victory over Paul. Stefanos Tsitsipas did well to put a disappointing defeat to Reilly Opelka in the Toronto semifinals behind him, beating rising star Sebastian Korda to reach this showdown with Sonego. Tsitsipas’ serve is a nightmare to face on hard courts.
Tsitsipas leads the head to head 1-0, having beaten Sonego in straight sets during the 2021 Miami Masters 1000 tournament. Sonego has a big serve and heavy forehand, but his backhand can often break down under pressure, especially on hard courts (and grass). I also don’t trust Sonego to return well-enough to really trouble Tsitispas. Tsitsipas won 89% of his first-serve points and wasn’t broken in their meeting in Miami this season. Expect Tsitsipas to move on here.
Prediction: Tsitsipas in 2
Guido Pella vs Alexander Zverev
Head to Head: 2-0 Zverev
Guido Pella won two straight matches for the first time since the 2020 Australian Open with his consecutive victories this week in Cincinnati. Pella beat Fabio Fognini in straight sets to reach the round of 16, holding Fognini to 51% of his service points won, including taking 64% of the points on the Fognini second serve. Alexander Zverev had a successful start to his Cincinnati campaign, beating Lloyd Harris in straight sets. Zverev won 86% of his first serves and 75% of his second serves while not facing a break points.
Zverev leads the head to head 2-0, but they have only played on clay and not recently. However, Pella’s forehand crosscourt should struggle as it goes into the Zverev strength: his backhand. In addition, Zverev’s serve is more dominant and he should be better able to control the baseline, forcing short balls and errors from Pella. Expect Zverev to win this match comfortable.
Prediction: Zverev in 2
Main Photo from Getty.