World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is the heavy favourite to capture the 2020 Cincinnati Masters, but a pair of rising Russians will also be gunning for the crown.
Expert tips and predictions for the ATP Cincinnati Masters, live from New York between August 22-28.
Read on below as we provide daily best bets for the ATP Cincinnati Masters this week, along with our predictions and tips for the outright winner.
ATP Cincinnati: Best bet for Friday August 28 (Saturday August 29 AEST)
Milos Raonic to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas H2H ($2.40)
Apart from World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, former No. 3 Milos Raonic has been the most impressive player since the ATP’s return in the New York bubble this week.
The big-serving Canadian has played superb tennis in dispatching the likes of Sam Querrey, Dan Evans, Andy Murray and Filip Krajinovic, who had beaten second seed Dominic Thiem in straight sets earlier in the tournament.
Raonic traditionally starts seasons strongly and after a near six-month break, is doing so again.
Tsitsipas is also playing well, but the Greek youngster hasn’t really been tested, overcoming Kevin Anderson and John Isner before Reilly Opelka retired in the quarter-finals.
While it’s true that Tsitsipas will have his eye in against big servers, Raonic is a much more complete player and his forehand has been menacing all week.
Add in that Raonic prevailed in straight sets in their only previous clash at this year’s Australian Open, and there’s definite value in backing him as the underdog in this clash.
ATP Cincinnati Seeds
1. ?? Novak Djokovic
2. ?? Dominic Thiem
3. ?? Daniil Medvedev
4. ?? Stefanos Tsitsipas
5. ?? Alexander Zverev
6. ?? Matteo Berrettini
7. ?? David Goffin
8. ?? Roberto Bautista Agut
9. ?? Diego Schwartzman
10. ?? Andrey Rublev
11. ?? Karen Khachanov
12. ?? Denis Shapovalov
13. ?? Cristian Garin
14. ?? Grigor Dimitrov
15. ?? Felix Auger-Aliassime
16. ?? John Isner
ATP Cincinnati Tips and Predictions
It’s almost impossible to look past World No. 1 Novak Djokovic as the first ATP tournament since March gets underway in the New York bubble ahead of the upcoming U.S. Open.
Djokovic was in sensational form prior to the tour shutting down shortly before Indian Wells, registering a flawless 18-0 record that yielded titles at the Australian Open and Dubai, along with guiding Serbia to an ATP Cup triumph.
The Serbian beat the likes of Rafael Nadal, Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem, Roger Federer, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Gael Monfils during that run and was looking like putting together another spectacular season before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the tour into lockdown.
Of course it’s difficult to gauge how Djokovic and the rest of the field will perform after the longest professional break of their careers, but the World No. 1 has got to be considered the overwhelming favourite – despite only winning the Cincinnati Masters on one occasion (2018).
However, given the tournament is being played at the home of the US Open at Flushing Meadows, Djokovic’s relative lack of success in Cincinnati doesn’t really come into affect for this event.
Djokovic’s biggest challenger, on paper, should be defending champion Medvedev, who compiled the best run of his young career this time last year, beating Djokovic in the Cincinnati final and going on to reach his first Grand Slam final at the U.S. Open a couple of weeks later, falling to Nadal in a five-set epic.
Unlike most of his contemporaries, Medvedev didn’t play any exhibitions during the lockdown – and only time will tell if the Russian is rusty or not.
Dominic Thiem is another player to watch. The Austrian enforcer has improved his hardcourt play considerably over the last 12 months and came within a whisker of claiming the Australian Open title in January, beating Nadal before falling in five sets to Djokovic.
Thiem also claimed the 2019 Indian Wells Masters and should be able to navigate his draw to at least make the semi-finals and put himself in the conversation for the title.
Young guns Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas should never be discounted, although the former was in poor form prior to the pandemic and the latter has never won a match at the Cincinnati tournament.
My smoky here is rising Russian star Andrey Rublev. The 22-year-old and World No. 14 was playing superb tennis prior to the lockdown, winning 11 straight matches in capturing titles in Doha and Adelaide before reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open.
Rublev has made at least the quarter-finals of every tournament he’s entered in 2020 and enjoys the conditions at Flushing Meadows having made his first Grand Slam quarter-final at the U.S. Open two years ago.
Djokovic is most certainly the man to beat, but Medvedev will be difficult to overcome and there’s tremendous value in backing Rublev home for his first Masters 1000 crown.