Former Champs On Deck Tuesday
Brace yourselves. We’ve got one whopper of a Tuesday schedule on our hands. With seven former singles champions and 78 (SEVENTY-EIGHT!) major titles represented, you’ll find head-turning matchups on every court.
Guess Who’s Back, Back Again?
Roger Federer is making his 17th visit to the Western & Southern Open, and Tuesday evening he’ll start his march to a historic eighth title. He’ll face off against Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Londero, 25, for the first time in his career as he returns to the court following his run to the Wimbledon final last month. Federer took 10 days off following his loss to Djokovic, but feels rested and ready for a resurgence.
“I was a bit mad that I lost the way I did, but at the same time, I can’t wait for the next rematch with Novak or my next time I can step on a match court again.”
Ready for a Repeat?
Day session ticket holders are in for a treat on Tuesday, when defending champion and world No. 5 Kiki Bertens takes on Venus Williams. The pair split their two meetings last year, with Williams taking the first meeting 7-5 in the third in Miami, and Bertens returning the favor 8-6 in the third at Wimbledon. In other words, settle in for a battle.
The defending champion on the men’s side, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, will play his first match since winning his fifth Wimbledon title against American wild card Sam Querrey. Querrey has two career wins over Djokovic, but as Querrey put it on court following his first-round win over Pierre-Hugues Herbet: “Yeah, but he has also beaten me eight times.”
Former Champ Central
Federer, Djokovic and Bertens aren’t the only players set to take the court Tuesday who have once hoisted the Rookwood Cup.
Two-time champion Serena Williams is set to play qualifier Zarina Diyas just two days after retiring midway through the first set in the Rogers Cup final against Bianca Andreescu with upper back spasms.
The 23-time major champion gave an emotional finalist speech, but ended on a positive note: “It’s been a tough year, but we’re going to keep going.”
The 2017 champ Grigor Dimitrov will start his 2019 campaign against Stan Wawrinka. Wawrinka leads the head-to-head 6-4, but get this: This is the fourth time in just over a year that the two have faced each other in the first round. The most recent instance came just last week in Montreal. We’re ready for the rematch.
Victoria Azarenka, victorious here in 2013, will take on Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic for the second time in her career. Azarenka, who recently celebrated her 30th birthday, took out Bencic in straight sets in 2015, but the Belarusian is still working to regain consistent form since giving birth to her son Leo in late 2016. Bencic, 22, had a strong first half of the year, upsetting world No. 1 Naomi Osaka twice, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova and Elina Svitolina.
Garbine Muguruza, a champ here in 2017, will also be in action against Madison Keys. Both have struggled to find their groove this summer, and this would certainly qualify as a confidence-building win for whomever walks away the victor.
They’ve never played before, but it’s safe to say Gael Monfils vs. Frances Tiafoe will be a fun one. The Frenchman, a former world No. 6 who reached the quarterfinals here in 2011, has both one of the biggest games and personalities on tour. It would be easy to describe 21-year-old Tiafoe the exact same way. The Maryland native had his breakthrough tournament in Cincinnati in 2017 when he took out Alexander Zverev en route to the third round. He’s since broken into the top 30 following a run to the Australian Open quarterfinals in January. Expect this duo to put on a show.
But wait, there’s more! Check out the full order of play here.