Simona Halep vs. Garbiñe Muguruza
The Romanian and the Spaniard have been, along with Jelena Ostapenko, the most impactful WTA players of the past five months. Halep reached the French Open final and is now one win away from becoming No. 1 for the first time. Muguruza won Wimbledon, and has been every bit as impressive in her first trip to the Cincinnati final. It’s possible that this match will be a preview of a US Open title contest in three weeks.
So who has the edge on Sunday? Muguruza leads their head to head 2-1, but they haven’t played on a hard court in two years. The matchup should make for an entertaining stylistic mesh: Muguruza has been the patient aggressor all week, while Halep’s defense has been close to impenetrable. Defense can get you to No. 1 in women’s tennis, but it’s offense that wins championships. Winner: Muguruza
Grigor Dimitrov vs. Nick Kyrgios
For years, the ATP has been waiting in vain to see this type of post-Big 4 contest in its Masters finals. Better late than never, especially in the 26-year-old Dimitrov’s case.
Both of these guys are obvious talents, but neither has made the most of those gifts yet, for different reasons. A first Masters 1000 title on Sunday would be a very strong first step. In Kyrgios’ case, it would put him back in the U.S. Open contender conversation, as the most dangerous of dark horses. Dimitrov won their only meeting, two years ago in Indian Wells, and he just fended off another big server in John Isner on Saturday. But when he’s engaged in an event, Kyrgios has the higher upside, and he’s been engaged in this one from the start. Winner: Kyrgios
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