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Cincinnati Open: Rafael Nadal heads star-studded field as Serena Williams looks to reassert authority

The main draws of the Cincinnati Open, which is also know as the West & South Open, will serve off on Sunday, 12 August through to Sunday 19 August. The outdoor hard-court event, which takes place at the Lindner Family Tennis Centre in Cincinnati, Ohio, is one of many events leading up to the US Open in the North-American hard court swing.

Known as the second largest tennis event in the United States after the US Open, the Cincinnati Open has both its men’s and women’s field studded with stars.

World No.1 Rafael Nadal will head into the event leading the pack in the men’s field. The French Open champion and top seed is currently in the final of the Rogers Cup in Toronto and will play Greek sensation, Stefanos Tsitsipas as he seeks to claim his fifth title of the season.

The Spaniard is locked in the first half of a tricky draw that includes defending champion Grigor Dimitrov, 2016 champion Marin Cilic, Alexander Zverev and Wimbledon champion, Novak Djokovic.

Apparently, it wouldn’t be an easy route to the final for Nadal, who’s an early favourite. Having received a first round bye, Nadal might have Canada’s Milos Raonic to contend with in the second round, with Kyle Edmund a potential opponent in the Last 16. His nemesis, Novak Djokovic or defending champion, Grigor Dimitrov loom in the quarterfinals. Should Nadal come out on top, we will have a crunch semis clash with Alexander Zverev provided the German battles past his own opponents.

Second seed and seven-time Cincinnati Open champion Roger Federer is back in action since his quarterfinal exit at Wimbledon and will continue his chase for a 99th career singles title in Cincinnati. Having also received a first round bye, the great Swiss will play either Peter Gojowczyk or Portugal’s Joao Sousa in his campaign opener.

Roger Federer training in readiness for the Cincinnati Open.

A potential mouthwatering clash with former world No.1, Andy Murray is on the cards in the Last 16, while Juan Martin del Potro or Kevin Anderson lie in wait in the semifinals- both men [Del Potro and Anderson] have beaten Federer this year and should the Swiss exact his revenge, Rafael Nadal could be all that stands between him and glory in Ohio.

In the women’s field, top seed, Simona Halep mans the top half of a difficult draw that includes defending champion Garbine Muguruza, Wimbledon champion, Angelique Kerber, Madison Keys, Victoria Azarenka and 2016 champion Karolina Pliskova.

Meanwhile, 23-time Grand Slam champion, Serena Williams is still in search of a first title since her return to competitive tennis in March. The former world No.1 reached the Wimbledon final last month and rose up the rankings table. She, however, endured a disastrous outing in San Jose afterwards, suffering the worst defeat of her career and pulling out of the Rogers Cup in Montreal, Canada due to personal reasons.

Now bidding to reassert her authority in women’s tennis, the two-time champion will take on Australia’s Daria Gavrilova in the first round, while a potential clash with Petra Kvitova, who’s won five WTA titles this season, in the second round awaits. Reigning US Open champion, Sloane Stephens, second seed Caroline Wozniacki and fifth seed, Elina Svitolina are all in the second half of the draw with Serena Williams.

For the unseeded Williams, this event will be a crucial test. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.

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