Once again, we’re being treated to some absurdly good first round matches at a North American hard-court Masters 1000. A number of top ATP players get their Cincinnati campaigns underway on Monday, and we will be offering up our predictions on who will be marching on. As always, we predict all of the day’s matches. In addition to this article, we also have three more on the day. One features Sebastian Korda vs Karen Khachanov, the second headlines Andy Murray vs Stan Wawrinka, and the third features Matteo Berrettini vs Frances Tiafoe. So, who will be in form on Day 2 of Cincinnati?
ATP Cincinnati Day 2 Predictions
Alex Molcan vs Diego Schwartzman
Head-to-head: Schwartzman 1 – 0
A thrilling battle on the first day. Schwartzman is in an interesting place right now. His win over Davidovich Fokina in Montreal last week was breathtaking–he fought into the early hours as he always does from 0-3, 15-40 down and found a way to win in typical ‘El Peque’ fashion. Yet, he went out to Ramos-Vinolas in straight sets afterwards, showing that he’s not where he should be right now.
Molcan is mighty promising right now, and I’ve no doubt that he’s set for a good future. Typically, Diego matches up brilliantly against left-handers. He destroyed Nadal in Rome 2020 and he’s taken multiple sets off him at the French Open – and has a great record overall against left-handed players. Sadly, Diego is constantly teetering between great and shockingly poor performances these days – whether this is a coaching or confidence issue, I’m not sure right now. That said, though–Scwartzman still often beats players he should beat for a reason, and although he’s not in great form, he should pull through here–though it will be a tough test against a strong opponent.
Prediction: Schwartzman in 3
Cameron Norrie vs Holger Rune
Head-to-head: Norrie 1 – 0
This is one of the matches that sounds incredibly interesting. Realistically speaking, Cam Norrie is one of the best tennis players on the planet and no amount of doubt is ever going to change that. Rune has been poor since he took down Tsitsipas in Paris, and a couple of wins here and there aren’t convincing enough to suggest to me that he’s got a chance here.
Norrie is more solid than most on tour. He’s improved his fitness, his game and everything about himself–and I don’t see how Rune can match this. Hitting through Norrie seems reserved for the Top 5 nowadays–and Rune is simply not good enough right now for the Brit’s fitness and athleticism, not to mention he’s a brilliant shot-maker too. Norrie is a league above Rune right now, and he should look to shut out this challenge as quick as possible.
Prediction: Norrie in 2
Denis Shapovalov vs Grigor Dimitrov
Head-to-head: Dimitrov 2 – 1
Can you get a more blockbuster first round than this? One of the struggling players of the “Lost Gen” playing an out of form “NextGen” superstar. Both are utterly explosive, but can equally produce a depressing amount of errors given how good they both are. It’s tricky for many tennis fans, as I’m sure many root for both players based on how good they can be.
It’s genuinely so tough to call this one. Shapovalov showed signs of his best of his best in Montreal, whereas Dimitrov feels like he could win a Masers 1000 one day but lose in the first round of an ATP 250 the next. I think I have to back Dimitrov just about here – even though he’s erratic, he has more margin for error in his game than Shapovalov – who’s high risk game is more of a liability than the Bulgarian’s.
Prediction: Dimitrov in 3
Main Photo from Getty.