Dimitrov Dominates from the Start
Six matches later, Grigor Dimitrov is an ATP Masters 1000 title-holder for the first time. The No. 7 seed had been on the verge of a next-level breakthrough for the last three years (since reaching the Wimbledon semifinal in 2014), but it didn’t come until this week when the 26-year-old Bulgarian found his form, playing consistent and aggressive tennis out of the gates to win six matches, all in straight sets, with wins over Lopez, Del Potro, Isner and Kyrgios. Does this propel him to bigger things? Let’s wait and see.
Kyrgios Comes Through for Breakthrough Masters 1000 Final
In his first-round match against David Goffin, the Australian star looked hurt and out of sorts, but after he won that match in straight sets, he only gained steam throughout the tournament, featuring a sensational highlight-reel worthy display of power tennis over Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals. He came up short in the final on Sunday, but gave us glimpses of what it could look and feel like with him going deep at these events down the road. Showtime!
Dominant Is An Understatement
Garbiñe Muguruza became the first Spanish champion at the Western & Southern Open with a 6-1, 6-0 beat down of world No. 2 Simona Halep. Not counting her two Grand Slam titles, it was Muguruza’s first WTA title since 2015 and her first on US soil. After saving three match points against Madison Keys in the third round, she picked up steam match by match, saving her best tennis for last and making her one of the favorites heading into New York.
For the third time this year, Romania’s Simona Halep has had the No. 1 ranking on her racket, and once again, she fell just short. On the positive side, she learned something about herself on the way to Cincinnati: She doesn’t like flying private. Halep tried it for the first time as she was leaving Toronto, and when the plane stopped in Buffalo for customs, her claustrophobia got the best of her. Instead of reboarding the plane, she and her coach Darren Cahill rented a car and took a good old-fashioned road trip to Southwest, Ohio. Best travel story ever.
He may not have won the Western & Open title, but Rafael Nadal will be the new world No. 1 on Monday. The Spaniard will return to the top of the ATP World Tour for the first time since June of 2014, retaking the No. 1 ranking in the same place he earned it for the first time in 2008 – Cincinnati, Ohio. He wasn’t happy with his quarterfinal loss to a red-hot Nick Kyrgios this week, but perhaps the extra rest will serve him well at the US Open.
Rafael Nadal isn’t the only one moving into the top ranking on Monday. With her run to the semifinals here alongside partner Barbora Strycova, five-time Grand Slam champion Lucie Safarova has earned the No. 1 spot for the first time in her career. Finland’s Henri Kontinen will also return to the top of the doubles rankings on Monday. Here in Cincinnati, it was Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert who took home their third ATP Masters 1000 win of the season. On the women’s side, Martina Hingis and Latisha Chan continued their hot streak, collecting their sixth title 2017 with a win over Su-Wei Hsieh and Monica Niculescu.
With seven of the top-10 ATP players hobbled by injury this week, the door was left wide open for a fresh-faced champion at the Western & Southern Open. It was the first time since 2006 the men’s final did not feature a top-10 player – and that’s what we loved about it. Nick Kyrgios and Grigor Dimitrov stepped up, played brilliant tennis, and left us loving the fact the men’s game has depth to spare.
Sloane Stephens sat out for nearly a year with a foot injury before making her comeback at Wimbledon this summer. The former world No. 11 lost two straight matches before making a run to the semifinals last week in Toronto. She followed that up with another semifinal run in Cincinnati, upsetting Petra Kvitova, Lucie Safarova, and Ekaterina Makarova along the way. Stephens played for packed crowds all week, and when asked why the fans here showed their support, she answered with a smile: “They missed me, I guess!”
Though we didn’t end up with an American champion, it was a fantastic week for men representing the red, white and blue. From Frances Tiafoe’s upset of Sascha Zverev, to Jared Donaldson’s surprise run to his first ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinal, it’s nice to see the ATP’s under-21 bunch of “Next Gen” players living up to their billing. Donaldson’s run came to a halt at the hands of 32-year-old John Isner who will once again become the highest-ranked American man after his semifinal run this week.
Sunny Days, Sweeping the Clouds Away
The mostly sunny skies and relatively mild temperatures this week in Cincinnati helped put the memory of last year’s tournament-week deluge firmly in our rear view. But we were ready for anything! This year, the tournament added driving and walking lanes in parking areas, improved drainage and grating, and added over 200 spots to the Diamond Lot.
There’s nothing better than an unusual partnership to spice up the doubles draw. In Washington, D.C., we saw Sloane Stephens and Genie Bouchard. In Montreal, Grigor Dimitrov and Juan Martin del Potro joined forces. Here in Cincinnati, it was 44-year-old doubles legend Leander Paes partnering with 20-year-old Sascha Zverev. Marc Lopez and Feliciano Lopez (no relation) took them out in the first round, but the 24-year age difference was fun while it lasted.
Two Ns or Two Ts?
Spelling Bees are the ultimate anxiety-inducer. Unless, of course, you get to sit on the sidelines and watch an international bunch of tennis players try to spell Cincinnati. In that case, it’s one of the best things you’ve ever seen. Our social media and content geniuses put WTA and ATP players to the test – and it’s worth watching (again and again). Check out all of our fun video content here.
Serving the Flavor of Cincy
People know the Western & Southern Open for its world-class tennis, but if you’ve ever visited our grounds, you know the food and drink options are a major bonus. With over 10 different food vendors and our new Rhinegeist Brew Balcony open to the public, you’ll taste victory on and off the court.
We’ve always said we have the best fans here in Cincinnati, and this year was no different. Nearly 200,000 of you filed through our gates, helping to sell out 14 of our 16 sessions. Not only did we see Center Court filled to the brim, but Grandstand, Stadium 3 and several of our smaller courts were bursting at the seams throughout the week. Our fans know a good matchup when they see one – and there were plenty to go around.
Don’t Quote Me
As always, our players provided plenty of quotable quotes during the Western & Southern Open. From Grigor Dimtrov describing Felicano Lopez’s calves, to Sloane Stephens’ in-depth restaurant reviews, you can find all of this week’s best player commentary here.
The Daily Bagel
Want your tennis served with a little cream cheesy fun? That’s what we brought on The Daily Bagel on a daily basis, with hosts Nick McCarvel and Blair Henley posting up around the grounds for a morning chat show, previewing the tennis, exploring Cincy Tennis and having as many laughs as possible. And Blair’s daily joke? It became the moment everyone waited for each morning.
Waiting for a World-class Experience… in 2018!
Construction will begin on Wednesday on a new South Building, which will feature a whole new experience for Center Court and Grandstand fans. The building includes first indoor box seating in the sport of tennis, with access to a restaurant and bar that overlooks both of the two biggest show courts on the grounds. There are some 252 seats to be added in what will enhance and change the Cincy experience for years to come. Who’s joining us there?