Biggies look forward |
After Novak Djokovic's stunning triumph at the Montreal Masters, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will try to get their US Open preparations back on track in Cincinnati this week.
Djokovic posted victories over both of the top two players in the world within 24 hours in Montreal, denying Swiss world number one Federer a 50th career win with his triumph in Sunday's final.
Federer and Nadal will try to restore order at the Cincinnati Masters.
The event staged at a stadium amid a golf course within sight of a crowd-pulling amusement park may have all the ambience of a Middle American county fair, but the tennis remains serious business with just a fortnight remaining before the final grand slam of the year starts in New York.
In all-American style, main draw players are handed the keys to flash Mercedes cars to drive themselves the 10 kilometres between a motorway hotel and the isolated site.
Fender-benders are not unknown, but the top seed Federer and number two Nadal are planning to limit their clashes strictly to the court as they fine-tune for the US Open starting August 27.
The steamy heat of Cincinnati will make fitness an important element, with Federer saying in temperate Canada that he is ready for a week of three-set, three-hour matches if necessary.
The top eight seeds begin with byes, with Federer due to open in the second round against either Russian Dmitry Tursunov or a qualifier.
The Swiss could have a chance at revenge for one of the five defeats he suffered in 2006 if recovering Briton Andy Murray reaches the third round.
But the youngster who returned in Montreal after three months out with a wrist injury must first face former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis.
He would then possibly play mentor Tim Henman, the 2000 finalist now ranked 85th and entered on a wild card.
Defending champion Andy Roddick takes the third seeding, hoping to recover poise after losing to Djokovic in the Monteal quarters.
Djokovic stands fourth in the seedings, ahead of Russian Nikolay Davydenko and sixth seed Fernando Gonzalez, struggling after a pair of cement losses this summer.
Spain's Tommy Robredo is seeded seventh with Richard Gasquet the first Frenchman at number eight.