There will be world-class tennis action from corner to corner on Monday when the first full day of main draw play begins at the Western & Southern Open. For those not quite sure which Cincinnati matches to highlight, we can help!
Here are five matches to watch:
Kristina Mladenovic vs. Daria Gavrilova
Mladenovic enters this match in the midst of a career-best season, capturing a title in St. Petersburg, reaching the quarterfinals at Roland Garros and moving to a career-high rank of No. 12 in the world. The 24-year-old Frenchwoman will have her work cut out for her against Australia’s Gavrilova. The two have split their only two meetings, with 23-year-old Gavrilova coming out on top in a marathon three-setter at the 2016 Australian Open. Expect both of these fiery competitors to bring the heat on Center Court Monday afternoon.
Steve Johnson/Daniel Nestor vs. Ryan Harrison/Michael Venus
Don’t forget about doubles! You won’t want to miss this foursome on Court 4. Johnson, a bronze medalist alongside Jack Sock at the Rio Olympics, will be pairing with former world No. 1 Canadian Nestor. At 44 years old, Nestor has won at least one title every season since 1994 – 91 in all. He’ll be looking to get his first trophy of 2017 with Johnson, but they’ll have to face the red-hot doubles duo of Harrison and Venus. They have won two titles together this season, including a shocking win as an unseeded team at Roland Garros this year. This will be a fun one.
Donald Young vs. Tommy Paul
Paul has had a breakthrough summer, reaching his first two ATP World Tour quarterfinals in back-to-back events in Atlanta and D.C. Currently sitting at his career-high rank of No. 174, 20-year-old Paul will face fellow American Young, 28, for the first time in his career. A former junior No. 1, Young has had a solid year of his own, reaching the fourth round Miami and Indian Wells this spring. It will be a matchup of experience vs. youth.
Madison Keys vs. CoCo Vandeweghe
There’s only one guarantee in this highly anticipated all-American matchup: tennis balls will be crushed. These two big hitters faced off for the first time in the Stanford final just weeks ago, with Keys taking the title 7-6(4), 6-4. Before the match, 22-year-old Keys joked about never practicing with her friend and fellow American, saying “Why would we want to? It would be the most pointless thing. Oh, Winner. Winner. Ace. Winner.”
Vandeweghe, 25, has had the best season of her career, making a run to the semifinals at the Australian Open. Meanwhile, Keys is beginning to find her rhythm after struggling much of last season with a wrist injury. No matter who comes out on top on Monday, it will be a win for American tennis.
Gael Monfils vs. Christopher Eubanks
Eubanks is living the dream. The 21-year-old Georgia Tech sophomore notched his first ever ATP-level win with an upset of Taylor Fritz in Atlanta earlier this summer. He backed up his breakthrough victory by qualifying in Cincinnati on Sunday. His reward will be a shot at former world No. 6 Monfils under the Center Court lights on Monday night. Monfils, known for his showmanship as much as tennis resume, is always up for a challenge. We’ll see how his body is feeling after three grueling three-set matches last week in Montreal.