Written by Alex DeMuth
With the 2016 WS Open kicking off this Saturday, August 13, the players are arriving at the tournament to start their preparation. Hitting the practice courts first today will be two ATP young guns along with a tour veteran.
Lucas Pouille, currently ranked 25 in singles, has had a 2016 to remember. The 22-year-old Frenchman made his first ATP 1000 semifinal at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome and reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon.
Borna Coric, a 19-year-old Croatian, arrives to Mason via the 2016 Rio Olympics. Currently ranked 51 in singles, Coric has represented his country well this summer. In July, he played the role of hero in Croatia’s Davis Cup tie versus the USA by clinching the comeback victory in the final singles rubber.
Coric is practicing with fellow Croat, Ivan Dodig. Now playing more doubles, Dodig is currently ranked 11th in the ATP Doubles rankings and most recently won the Rogers Cup alongside Marcelo Melo. Don’t let his Grand Slam doubles champion (Roland Garros 2015) status fool you. Dodig is still a dangerous singles player. Currently ranked 76th in singles, he will be participating in the Qualifying singles draw.
Other big names from the ATP practicing are Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev. An up and down 2016 season thus far for Dimitrov, the Bulgarian will look to regain stability here at the W&S Open. The young German, Zverev comes in to Cincinnati ranked 27th in the world and looking to continue an already successful 2016 season. Two finals on the European dirt and the semifinals at the Citi Open will be building blocks for Zverev to earn a winner’s trophy on the ATP World Tour in the near future.
On the WTA side, Carina Witthöft, a 21-year-old German ranked 89th in the latest WTA singles rankings, is on the grounds prepping for her first hard court tournament of the summer. After making two clay court finals and the third round of Wimbledon in 2016, Witthöft will hope to make a quick transition to the asphalt leading up to the US Open.
One more American woman will be getting her Cincy Tennis preparation started today. Hailing from nearby Pittsburgh, PA, Alison Riske is yet another player coming in to the Qualifying playing well. Great Britain treated her well as she advanced to two grass court finals in June. She backed those performances up in at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, CA by making the semifinals.