Back to form for my ATP Tennis advice this week as Ivo Karlovic (7/1) won the Los Cabos final in Mexico, beating Lopez in straight sets while, in the Olympics, Team GB’s Andy Murray (Evens) is one match away from creating history and becoming the first ever male player to win two Olympic tennis Gold medals. Murray will face Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro in today’s final and, while Murray is expected to win, it would be a fairy tale and well deserved victory if 2009 US Open champion Del Potro wins, given his career looked like it may be over prematurely due to a wrist injury a few years ago.
On to this week’s ATP action and it’s the Cincinnati Masters, which has been dominated by Roger Federer over the last decade with the Swiss great winning six of the last ten titles, including the last two. Murray 2011 and 2008 and Nadal 2013 are the only two other active players to win the title in this period and with world number one Djokovic not playing due to a left wrist injury, Federer also out and Murray and Nadal potentially distracted by their Olympic exploits we could have a new winner for 2016.
Andy Murray is the top seed this week and the top seeds have won three of the last ten titles at Cincinnati (last time 2012 Federer) and were a losing finalist twice in this period (last time 2015 Djokovic). Stan Wawrinka is seed two this week and they have won two of the last ten titles (last 2015 Federer) and they were a losing finalist once in this period (2012 Djokovic). Seeded players in general have a good record at Cincinnati and a player seeded no higher than four has won eight of the last ten titles and a player seeded no higher than nine was a losing finalist seven times in this period.
Ninth seed Gael Monfils (33/1) has been in great form since the start of the summer North American hard court swing. He won the ATP 500 event at Washington, made the semi-finals at the Montreal Masters and quarter-finals at the Olympics. The quick conditions will suit Monfils’s game well and he has a winning head-to-head record against the majority of the main dangers in his quarter of the draw like 15th seed Bautista Agut, Alexandar Zverev and fourth seed Milos Raonic.
Top seed Murray, eighth seed Thiem and fifth seed Nishikori are in his half of the draw. However, Murray is unlikely to go all out this week whether he wins Olympic Gold or not, Thiem is returning from injury and Nishikori may struggle to back up his Olympic semi-final run as he looked injured again against Murray on Saturday, which should improve the chances of Monfils reaching Sunday’s final.
In the bottom half of the draw Nicky Kyrgios (22/1) and Steve Johnson (80/1) have both been in good form recently and, with three unseeded players reaching the final over the last decade, they are more than capable of achieving that feat this year as the bottom half of the draw looks wide open. Kyrgios won the title in Atlanta on hard courts recently while Johnson reached the semi-finals at Washington and quarter-finals at the Olympics, where he lost to Murray on a third set tie-break. If both can repeat that form and improve further they will be difficult to beat this week.