Friday, August 16, 2013

2013 CINCY1/4-FINAL: Federer-Nadal XXXI, Djokovic-Isner, Berdych-Murray


Exciting times at the last big tennis tournament before the final Grand Slam of the year starts on August 26th in New York City. At the 2013 Western & Southern Financial Open in Cincinnati the quarterfinals are set and they feature the world's top 4 players and five major champions! These clashes are led by meeting number 31 between 17-time major champion Roger Federer and 12-time major champion Rafael Nadal. Nadal famously leads their head-to-head 20-10, including two relatively easy wins at two ATP Masters 1000 tournaments this year (the Rome final and the Indian Wells quarterfinals).

Nadal is currently having some of the best results of his career, and is at 50-3 for the year, having reached 10 finals so far and won 8 of them, including last week in Montreal. In fact, Nadal is 13-0 on hard courts which is usually his least successful surface. Unfortunately, Federer is having one of his worst years on tour having won only one title and has a relatively pedestrian 32-10 win-loss record for the year. Unless Federer has an incredibly serving day I don't see how he wins this match with his arch-nemesis who knows he has a winning game plan; it is simply a bad match-up of playing styles. However, at least on hard courts Federer has a chance of winning, since they have split their previous dozen hard court meetings 6-all. However, Nadal is undefeated on hard courts for the year and last week outplayed World #1 Novak Djokovic to win a final set tiebreaker in the Rogers Cup semifinals. MadProfessah's prediction: Nadal in 2 sets.

The other quarterfinals feature other marquee showdowns, such as Djokovic versus 6'10" John Isner. Isner has played every single week of the US Open Series summer hardcourt season and has been getting good results. However, Djokovic has reached the final of the Cincinnati ATP Masters four of the last five years (losing every time) and would really like to set up another clash with the winner of the Federer-Nadal match to keep his quest to win every single ATP Masters shield alive. MadProfessah's prediction: Djokovic in 3 sets.

Andy Murray is playing in his second tournament after winning Wimbledon earlier this summer and faces Tomas Berdych, an excellent hard court player who also happens to be the only resident of the ATP Top 10 not to have won a title in 2013. Berdych leads his head-to-head with Murray 5 to 4 and has 39 wins on the year. I think the tall Czech wants this one a bit more than the Brit. MadProfessah's prediction: Berdych in 3 sets.

The last quarterfinal is between Juan Martin del Potro and Dmitry Tursunov. Tursunov took out David Ferrer the round before and is playing in his first quarterfinal at an ATP Masters 1000 tournament while del Potro is a grand slam champion who won a hard court tournament just two weeks ago. MadProfessah's prediction: del Potro in 2 sets.

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