Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews the 2017 Western & Southern Open.

The US Open Series marches on this week, stopping in Cincinnati for the 2017 Western & Southern Open.

This gets us a step closer to the large prize at the end of the big rainbow in Flushing Meadows. (Though we mean that figuratively of course: the Rogers Cup in Montreal and Toronto was coming on the heels of the Citi Open in Washington, DC, and the former is closer to NYC than the latter. And Cincinnati is farther from New York than either Montreal or Toronto also, etc. Moving on.)

But yes the tennis world stops in Cincinnati this week for another joint event, a real one this time (hi, Rogers Cup), so let’s dive deep into both main draws. Can we make correct predictions for Cincinnati? At the very least, let’s hope we can do better than we did for the Rogers Cup where, erm, we didn’t do so good.

Men’s draw

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but the 2017 season already profiles as the Alexander Zverev coming-out party. Look, he’s already qualified for the 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals.

Rafael Nadal has a tricky task ahead of him, and we would hope for nothing more than for him to have another crack at the #PeoplesChamp Gilles Muller after their Wimbledon clash. Most of all in the top section of the draw, we’ll delight in the match-up between Nick Kyrgios and David Goffin in the first round. In the second section, we believe Kei Nishikori can bounce back and that Sam Querry will use his homecourt advantage to make his way to the quarterfinals. For the lower half of the draw, in an ideal world we would have gotten a repeat of the men’s Rogers Cup final between Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev but the Swiss has officially pulled out of the tournament. Let’s go with a little bit of a shocker: Juan Martin Del Potro and Jack Sock.

Quarterfinals: Rafael Nadal over Nick Kyrgios; Dominic Thiem over Sam Querrey; Milos Raonic over Alexander Zverev; Jack Sock over Juan Martin Del Potro

Semifinals: Rafael Nadal over Dominic Thiem; Milos Raonic over Jack Sock

Final: Rafael Nadal over Milos Raonic

Women’s draw

We’re in a different city and at a different tournament but you’d be forgiven for doing a double-take—because this main draw sure seems a lot similar to Toronto’s a week ago, no?

In any case, Karolina Pliskova will look to avenge a tough quarterfinals loss last week but in our eyes, we think she won’t even get the chance to. Instead, Kristina Mladenovic and Venus Williams will emerge unscathed from the top section. Jelena Ostapenko would love nothing more than a good showing at the US Open; after a no-show in Canada, she’ll want to bounce back in Cincinnati. Facing the youngster in the quarterfinals will be Garbine Muguruza. In the lower half of the draw, all eyes will be on Elina Svitolina who, we don’t know if you’ve heard, is having herself quite a formidable 2017 season. With just 9 losses, Svitolina already has five titles and well over $2 million in prize money. Can she pull off the Toronto/Cincinnati double?

Quarterfinals: Kristina Mladenovic over Venus Williams; Jelena Ostapenko over Garbine Muguruza; Elina Svitolina over Angelique Kerber; Simona Halep over Johanna Konta

Semifinals: Jelena Ostapenko over Kristina Mladenovic; Elina Svitolina over Simona Halep

Final: Elina Svitolina over Jelena Ostapenko

Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG


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