The Western & Southern Open has reached the semi-final stage with both matches in the ATP Cincinnati event being played out on what looks like a great day of tennis on Saturday as we confirm the latest Masters 1000 event finalists.
The four players remaining in the tournament have all won at this level before so they should be used to the extra scrutiny that will come their way here. It should make for a couple of very exciting matches.
Carlos Alcaraz vs Hubert Hurkacz
The opening semi-final is a repeat of a match from the Canadian Open last week and the world number one Carlos Alcaraz looks to see off the Polish player Hubert Hurkacz for a second time in as many weeks.
Hurkacz will be well aware that it took a tiebreak in the final set to defeat him last week but he will take encouragement both from that performance and his last two here where he has seen off Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexei Popyrin in very comfortable fashion in the last two rounds. Comfortable is anything but the right word to use for Alcaraz, who has had to go the distance in all three matches to make it to this stage and arguably faces his toughest test here. I certainly hope that it is his toughest test because I’m effectively on Hurkacz to win this match at 25/1 having backed him to win the tournament before a ball was hit. I haven’t seen anything to suggest that he can’t win this match but the obvious punt is to take over 22.5 games here. These two went three sets last week and four of the five sets they have played against each other have gone the distance so even if this one is won in straight sets there is still every chance that the game line is covered before hopefully it is Hurkacz who gets over the line.
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Alexander Zverev vs Novak Djokovic
The second semi-final is probably the pick of the matches in terms of the stature of the names involved in it as Alexander Zverev looks to continue his unbeaten run in Cincinnati when he goes up against Novak Djokovic.
The Zverev run does not just include this tournament. He won this event the last time he was involved in it but that injury he sustained at the French Open last season meant that he couldn’t defend his title a year ago. It looks obvious that he enjoys conditions in this part of the world though. The problem that Zverev has in this match is that he is up against a fully motivated Djokovic who probably feels that he has a point to prove having been denied entry into the US for so long. The Serb has cruised through the draw so far and while Zverev has three hard court wins over Djokovic in his career, which should give him some added confidence here, it is still hard to take Djokovic on. I wouldn’t really want to go against Zverev so I’ll leave this one alone.
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