2018 Western & Southern Open: Men’s and Women’s Draw Preview and Analysis

published: Aug, 13, 2018

by: Charles Blouin-Gascon

Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon recaps the 2018 Rogers Cup and previews the 2018 Western & Southern Open.

Once more, for the second year in a row, the Rogers Cup acted as the coming-out party of a gifted and preternaturally-talented teenager.

Whereas a year ago Montreal launched the #SummerOfShapo for young Denis Shapovalov, this time it was youngster Stefanos Tsitsipas who rode a mix of opportunity, guts and skill all the way to the Rogers Cup final in Toronto.

A year ago, the Shapo show gave way to the Grigor Dimitrov show after Montreal, as Dimitrov used the win in and exposure from Cincinnati to mount a second half charge that culminated in the man’s greatest triumph with the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals title.

Will this year’s edition of the Western & Southern Open follow a similar script? Let’s see if we can correctly predict how both draws might unfold.

Men’s draw

Quarterfinals: Novak Djokovic over Denis Shapovalov; Marin Cilic over Alexander Zverev; Nick Kyrgios over Stefanos Tsitsipas; Roger Federer over Stanislas Wawrinka

Semifinals: Novak Djokovic over Marin Cilic; Roger Federer over Stanislas Wawrinka

Final: Novak Djokovic over Roger Federer

The big question, like every year in Cincinnati for the men’s Western & Southern Open, is whether Novak Djokovic might manage to get the Ohio-sized monkey off his back. The Serb might have won everything there is to win in tennis, but his resume still lacks one Western & Southern Open title (and one Olympic gold medal too, but those come up only every four years so whatever) to have truly conquered it all.

We’re going on record as to predicting Djokovic will indeed win it all, but the road to get there will be fun. Joining the Serb in the quarterfinals will be Denis Shapovalov, and whomever gets slotted in the semifinals from the second section will be a long shot to emerge with a win.

Meanwhile, the lower half of the draw is much less loaded than the top one. Sure, Juan Martin del Potro, Nick Kyrgios and Andy Murray are, on paper, formidable foes, all the while David Goffin, Borna Coric or Kei Nishikori could all theoretically muddy things up. But we foresee an all-Swiss semifinal in this case.

Women’s draw

Quarterfinals: Simona Halep over Garbine Muguruza; Caroline Garcia over Madison Keys; Serena Williams over Sloane Stephens; Elina Svitolina over Coco Vandeweghe

Semifinals: Caroline Garcia over Simona Halep; Serena Williams over Elina Svitolina

Final: Serena Williams over Caroline Garcia

On the women’s draw, last week’s Rogers Cup proved how things can be difficult to predict in women’s tennis: while you might have been impressed enough with Angelique Kerber’s run to the Wimbledon title to envision great things for her in Montreal, the German…didn’t survive her first match.

That said, Garbine Muguruza arrives in Cincinnati as the defending champion after what feels like what’s been a pretty uneven 2018 season—and yet, here she is, with a 22-12 record with one title to her name. Not too shabby. Slotted in the top section, the Spaniard could be matched up with Simona Halep in the quarterfinals in a repeat of last year’s final. The second section very well could have broken Caroline Garcia’s way, provided that she can stomach and overcome what will likely be a difficult first match in the second round.

As for the lower half of the main draw, we feel like both Sloane Stephens and Serena Williams will look to make the most of the final test before the US Open. Their potential quarterfinal match could end up being the best match of the week and in fact, we’ll take this one step further and say whomever of the two emerges victorious in the quarterfinals will go on to win the entire event.

Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG

Charles Blouin-Gascon

I'm the mastermind (I use this word very generously) of the 'Tennis Elbow' column, which looks at the previous week in the world of tennis. I try to bring humor to my coverage, because life's much better when you're smiling. I can also hit a mean backhand down the line.

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