World number one Novak Djokovic, bidding to become the first player in history to win all nine Super Series events, began his campaign with a 7-5,6-2 win over the lucky looser from France, Benoit Paire and was joined by the former champions Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal in the round of sixteen in Cincinnati, Ohio. Also advancing were the reigning French Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych.
Fresh from his win at the Roger’s Cup on Sunday, Andy Murray who only needs to reach the final to be assured of being seeded second at the U.S. Open (starting August 31st) overcame wild card entrant Mardy Fish 6-4,7-6(1). A winner in 2008 and 2011, Murray next faces the Bulgarian Grigor Dmitrov. The 2013 champion Rafael Nadal had a 6-3,6-4 win over the Frenchman Jeremy Chardy – who had reached the last four in Montreal, Canada (loss to Djokovic). Nadal stayed on course for a blockbuster quarter-final clash against Roger Federer on Friday. He takes on fellow countryman Feliciano Lopez while Federer will face the tall South African Kevin Anderson in the round of sixteen.
Another Swiss, Stanislas Wawrinka put his back trouble behind him as he beat the promising Croatian teenager Borna Coric 3-6,7-6(3),6-3. He next faces another Croat Ivo Karlovic before a potential rematch of the French Open final against Djokovic. The Serb faces the Belgian David Goffin who is seeded 13th, Goffin beat the left handed Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-4,7-6(4). Poland’s Jersy Janowicz beat the 18 year old American wild card entrant Jared Donaldson 6-4,7-6(4) to set up the only match up of unseeded players as he faces the qualifier from Ukraine – Alexandr Dolgopolov. Tommy Robredo defeated the last remaining American in the draw Sam Querrey 6-1,5-7,6-3 and next faces the Czech Tomas Berdych.
Frenchman Richard Gasquet, semi-finalist at this year’s Wimbledon Championships (loss to Djokovic) set up another interesting match up against the reigning U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia as he followed up his win against the Australian Nick Kyrgios with a 7-6(5), 6-2 win over another Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis. The defeat of the two Special K’s as they are called in Australia and that of Bernard Tomic ensures that no Aussie will feature in the round of sixteen.
The line up for the round of 16 matches with my picks mentioned first is as under :-
Novak Djokovic (1) v. David Goffin (13) ; Djokovic leads 1-0
Stanislas Wawrinka (5) v. Ivo Karlovic ; Wawrinka leads 4-1
Alexandr Dolgopolov v. Jerzy Janowicz ; Dolgopolov leads 3-0
Tomas Berdych (6) v. Tommy Robredo ; Berdych leads 5-4
Richard Gasquet (12) v. Marin Cilic (7) ; Gasquet leads 1-0
Andy Murray (3) v. Grigor Dmitrov (16) ; Murray leads 5-2
Rafael Nadal (8) v. Feliciano Lopez ; Nadal leads 9-3
Roger Federer (2) v. Kevin Anderson (15) ; Federer leads 3-0
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: email@example.com]