Throughout the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, we'll preview the upcoming days' must-see matches.
Rafael Nadal vs. Albert Ramos-Viñolas: Nadal
Nick Kyrgios vs. Ivo Karlovic: Kyrgios
Nadal vs. Kyrgios
Because of Thursday night’s wrath-of-God rain in Cincinnati, this will be a two-match day for a couple of players. One of them could be Nadal; he starts at 1:00 against Albert Ramos-Viñolas; in three matches with his fellow Spaniard, Rafa hasn’t dropped a set. The winner of that will have to turn around and play the winner of another match held over from last night, Kyrgios vs. Ivo Karlovic—they’re currently on serve in the first set, with Karlovic leading 4-3. Kyrgios has won all three of his previous matches with Karlovic; if he can survive a fourth, he’ll set up an evening blockbuster with Nadal. Judging by Nadal’s sometimes-shaky recent play, Kyrgios has a definite shot to win that, provided he wants it enough.
Simona Halep vs. Johanna Konta
Their three-set Wimbledon quarterfinal was one of the contests of the year. Can this night-session rematch live up to its predecessor? Halep must feel as if she has some unfinished business to attend to, considering how that one ended: A woman’s scream from the audience distracted her on match point. She must also feel like she’s due against Konta. Halep has lost all three matches she’s played against the Brit, all in close three-setters.
Dominic Thiem vs. David Ferrer
Like Roger Federer, Ferrer has found his groove again at 35. While he’s ranked just 32nd, he’s coming off a title in Bastad last month and a solid straight-set win in his last round over countryman Pablo Carreño Busta. The Little Beast will need all of his famous doggedness to fend off Thiem, who won their only meeting, on clay last year, in routine fashion. Either way, this early-evening, smaller-court matchup should be as physical as tennis gets.
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