Five Matches to Watch in the Qualifying Rounds


While the main draws were made Friday, there are 15 players who are vying for the chance to join those fields through the two-round qualifying tournament that begins Saturday at 10 a.m.

Here are five matches to watch during that opening round of action Saturday:

1. Fernando Verdasco vs. Richard Gasquet

While qualifying is often a chance to see upcoming players, two veterans headline Center Court when 37-year-old Fernando Verdasco battles 35-year-old Richard Gasquet. This will be the 16th meeting for these two, but their first in five years. Verdasco has won eight of their meetings, but Gasquet holds the edge in career titles, 15-7.


2. Christian McHale vs. Donna Vekic

Christina McHale will look to build on her past Cincinnati success when she faces Donna Vekic on Center Court. McHale has advanced to the Round of 16 three times in her career here. Vekic has shown good form on American hard courts, reaching the fourth round or better in three of the last four US Opens, including the quarterfinals in 2019.


3. Lorenzo Musetti vs. Kevin Anderson

Youth will be on display to open play on Center Court as 19-year-old Lorenzo Musetti takes on two-time Major finalist Kevin Anderson. The Italian Musetti became the first player born in the year 2002 to win an ATP Tour match in 2020 and is playing his second full season. Anderson, a South African standout at the University of Illinois, owns seven career titles including at Newport last month.


4. Peyton Stearns vs. Hsieh Su-wei

Mason native Peyton Stearns, fresh of leading the University of Texas to the NCAA title, faces Wimbledon doubles champion Hsieh Su-wei in the third match on Porsche Court 10. Stearns collected a title earlier this summer an ITF event in Sumter, S.C. Hseih owns three career singles titles but is also a four-time Major doubles champion and a past doubles winner in Cincinnati.


5. JJ Wolf vs. Marcos Giron

Cincinnati’s JJ Wolf will take on fellow American Marcos Giron in the fourth match on Grandstand. Wolf, a former Ohio State Buckeye, successfully qualified into the Western & Southern Open in 2020 and followed that up with a run to the third round of the US Open. Giron was an NCAA champion at UCLA who reached the second round in singles at the Tokyo Olympics.


Saturday’s full schedule can be found here.