Scouting report: Daniil Medvedev leads Cincinnati Field, Rafael Nadal returns | ATP Tour

Daniel Medvedev and Carlo Alcaraz are among those who made the journey from Montreal to Cincinnati this week in preparation for taking part in the seventh ATP Masters 1000 event of the season Western & Southern Open.

Medvedev, who lifted the trophy in 2019, will face stiff competition from two-time Masters 1000 champion Alcaraz and the Spaniard Rafael Nadalwho will attempt to win his 37th Masters 1000 crown in Cincinnati.

TaylorFritz leads hopes home as a number of stars target deep runs to bolster theirs Nitto ATP Finals qualification opportunities. looks at 10 things to see in Cincinnati.

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1) Medvedev’s #1 status: Medvedev arrives in Cincinnati to secure his world No. 1 status after a disappointing second-round exit Nick Kyrgios in Montreal left the door ajar for Nadal. The 26-year-old will guarantee his place at the top of the Pepperstone ATP rankings if he records back-to-back wins at the Masters 1000 event where he triumphed in 2019.

Top seed Medvedev, who also reached the semifinals in Ohio last season, clinched his only title of the year on the hard courts in Los Cabos earlier this month.

2) Nadal in pursuit: Nadal will go to court for the first time since a stomach rupture forced his exit Wimbledon before the semifinals in July. The Spaniard, who has won 36 Masters 1000 trophies including a triumph in Cincinnati in 2013, will return to No. 1 if he wins the title and Medvedev fails to reach the quarters.

Competing in Ohio for the first time since 2017, the 36-year-old is looking to clinch his fifth title of the season and improve on his outstanding 35-3 record.

3) Alcaraz in pursuit of the third master’s crown: #NextGenATP Spaniards Carlo Alcaraz was listed outside of the top 50 on the Pepperstone ATP rankings on his debut in Cincinnati last year. Now the 19-year-old is in the top five and third seeded in Ohio. Alcaraz holds a 12-3 record on hard courts this season, underscored by his title run in Miami in April.

The 2021 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals Champion meets an American wild card Mackenzie McDonald or Nikoloz Basilashvili in his opening game.

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4) Pepperstone ATP Live Race to Torino Competitors: Some of the sport’s biggest stars will be aiming for deep runs in Cincinnati to improve their chances of qualifying for November Nitto ATP Finals.

Last year’s Cincinnati finalist Andrei Rublev currently occupies the final qualifying spot in eighth place at the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin while being Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime is seventh and pole Hubert Hurkacz is in ninth place and has a chance to move up to fifth if he wins the Montreal trophy on Sunday.

Rublev, who has won three titles this season, will compete Albert Ramos Vinolas or a qualifier, while Rotterdam champion Auger-Aliassime will compete Alexander Bulik or Alex from Minaur. Hurkacz advanced to the final in Montreal and will be looking to maintain his good form Benjamin Bonzi or John Isner.

5) Ruud thrives on hard courts: Kasper Ruud has carried his strong clay-court form to the hardcourts this season, with the Norwegian holding an 11-4 on the surface. The 23-year-old reached his maiden Masters 1000 final in Miami earlier this year and is coming to Cincinnati after a run to the semifinals in Montreal.

Fifth seed Ruud, currently No. 5 in the Pepperstone ATP Live rankings, has won Reilly Opelka and Diego Schwartzman to reach the quarterfinals in Cincinnati last season.

ATP WTA LIVE |  Follow the Pepperstone ATP Race to Turin in real time

6) Milan hopefuls in action: denmark Holger Rune and american Brandon Nakashima are currently competing to qualify for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP FinalsFourth and seventh respectively in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan.

Rune, who reached the second round in Montreal last week, faces a tricky first-round test in his debut against the ninth seed Cameron Norrie. Nakashima reached back-to-back quarterfinals in Atlanta and Los Cabos last month and will play Aslan Karatsev in the first round.

7) Kyrgios, Sinner & Tsitsipas hunt more silverware: Nick Kyrgios was revived on the court this season, coming to Cincinnati after winning 15 of his last 17 games. The Aussie, who is a former finalist in Ohio, won the trophy in Washington earlier this month and holds a 30-8 record for the year.

Fourth Seed Stefanos Tsitsipas won his second ATP Masters 1000 trophy in Monte Carlo and performed well in Cincinnati last year and reached the semifinals, while Sinner clinched the title in Umag last month.

The Italian, currently 14th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, will start his campaign against a qualifier.

8) Home Hopes: TaylorFritz will lead the United States on home soil in Ohio, with 11 Americans in the draw, with no qualifiers. The 11th seed will be looking to claim his third title of the season and second Masters 1000 crown after lifting the trophy at Indian Wells.

Thomas Paul enjoyed a run to the last eight in Montreal last week, starting against the 21-year-old compatriot Jenson Brooksby. Frances Tiafoe faces a difficult test in the 12th seed Matteo Berretini, who will be aiming for his eighth tour-level trophy, but on hard courts first. wildcard Sebastian Korda could play the winner if he overcomes Karen Khachanov in the first round.

Newport Champion Maxim Cressy makes his tournament debut, starting against Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp.

9) Former champions in the draw: Marin Cilic and Grigor Dimitrov I have fond memories of Cincinnati after lifting the trophy in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Croatian cilic who hit Andy Murray in the championship game, starts the season with 23:14, with his best result in a semi-final Roland Garros.

Dimitrov lost to Cilic in the semifinals in Ohio in 2016 before beating Kyrgios for his first Masters 1000 trophy in 2017. The Bulgarian reached the quarter-finals in Indian Wells earlier this season before moving into the last four in Monte Carlo.

10) Aries/Salisbury Top Seeds: Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury will lead the doubles as a top seed and could face Australian Open winner Thanasi Kokkinakis and Kyrgios in their opening match. Reigning Masters Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos and third seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupsky are also strong contenders for the title. Alcaraz, Tsitsipas and Rublev are among the singles stars in doubles.

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