What to watch
Five past Western & Southern Open champions are in action on Tuesday: Serena Williams (2014-15), Madison Keys (2019) and Karolina Pliskova (2016) for the women, and Daniil Medvedev (2019) and Marin Cilic (2016) for the men. With so many great matches on the grounds today, here are a few to keep your eyes on during the day session:
Taylor Fritz is the top American and world-ranked No. 13. He reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon and earlier this year won the ATP Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells. He undoubtedly will crack into the world’s Top 10 but he won’t even be the first person in his family to do so – his mom, Kathy May Fritz, was a Top 10 player and was coached by Cincinnati tennis icon and Hall of Famer Tony Trabert. Fritz faces Sebastian Baez who is on the rise himself. He won his first ATP Tour title this year and is making his Western & Southern Open debut.
Eleventh seed Coco Gauff may be the youngest player in the draw at 18, but she is quickly becoming one of the most accomplished. She reached the French Open final and this week became the No. 1 doubles player in the world, the second-youngest to ever achieve that. Currently ranked No 12, she is closed to being Top 10 in singles, too. She faces Marie Bouzkova who already won two matches to qualify for the main draw. She has won 13 of her last 15 matches.
One of Coco’s idols is also playing today – 7-time Grand Slam major champion Venus Williams. While Coco is the youngest, Venus is the oldest player in the draw at 42. She faces 2016 Western & Southern Open winner Pliskova. This will be a battle of big serves and big hitters. Pliskova has served 144 total aces in Cincinnati over the years, ranking third all-time, and Venus once held the record for the fastest serve in women’s tennis with a 129 mph blast.
Nick Kyrgios, the 2017 Western & Southern Open finalist, will try to continue his tremendous summer in Cincinnati. After reaching the Wimbledon final, he became the first man to ever win both the singles and doubles titles in the same year at the ATP event in Washington, D.C. He reached the quarterfinals last week in Toronto to extend his record since June to 21-4. He is 10-0 in first-round matches this year, which opponent Alejandro Davidovich Fokina will try to change.
Simona Halep has never won the Western & Southern Open but is a three-time finalist. She won the Canadian Open last week, and the last time she won it in 2018 was also the last time she reached the final here. Simona got married earlier this year so maybe this is her year to finally go from bridesmaid to bride in Cincinnati.
Yesterday, wild card Caty McNally of Cincinnati won her first career Western & Southern Open match in dramatic fashion, winning a third-set tie-break over Aliaksandra Sasnovich to the delight of her hometown fans. Caty is back on court for doubles with partner Taylor Townsend.