What To Watch Thursday

Heading to the courts Thursday? Here are four matches to check out at the Western & Southern Open.

WTA MATCHES TO WATCH


DARIA GAVRILOVA (AUSTRALIA) VS. [3] SIMONA HALEP (ROMANIA) 

Daria Gavrilova and Simona Halep are squaring off for the third time this season and second time in a month. Gavrilova won a clay court meeting in Rome in three sets, and Halep earned a 6-2, 6-3 victory two weeks ago in Montreal. Halep, seeded third, was a finalist here last year and enters Thursday on an 11-match winning streak with titles in Montreal and Bucharest. Gavrilova has taken the long road to the third round, winning two qualifying matches and a pair of matches in the main draw. 

 

[2] ANGELIQUE KERBER (GERMANY) VS. BARBORA STRYCOVA (CZECH REPUBLIC)

Second-seeded Angelique Kerber and Barbora Strycova are also facing off for a third time this season. Kerber won on the Miami hard courts, and Strycova picked up a win on clay in Madrid. Kerber leads the all-time series 4-1. Kerber has spent a lot of time of the courts lately, making the semifinals in Montreal and the Olympic finals last week. A tournament victory this week would give Kerber the world No. 1 ranking. Strycova was also an Olympian, making the second round for the Czech Republic.


ATP MATCHES TO WATCH


[2] STAN WAWRINKA (SWITZERLAND) VS. GRIGOR DIMITROV (BULGARIA)

After his first match took two days and three sets to complete, No. 2 seed Stan Wawrinka will face another tough test when he takes on Grigor Dimitrov on Thursday. Dimitrov owns a 3-2 record over the Swiss, defeating him in their past three meetings. A former world No. 8, Dimitrov has put together two strong showings here in Cincinnati, defeating Feliciano Lopez in a third set tie-break Wednesday and Gilles Simon in the first round. 

 

[3] RAFAEL NADAL (SPAIN) VS. BORNA CORIC (CROATIA)

Rafael Nadal admitted he was feeling fatigued after defeating Pablo Cuevas in his opening match, thanks to a packed match schedule in Rio. No doubt he will dig into his energy reserves when he faces 19-year-old Borna Coric Thursday. The pair has split their only two meetings, with Nadal taking their most recent encounter at last year’s US Open. 

 

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