Just four men remain in contention at the 2019 Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. World #1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic will face the in-form Daniil Medvedev and in a rather more surprising semifinal Richard Gasquet will contest his first Masters 1000 semifinal in six years against David Goffin. But who will reach Sunday’s final?
Cincinnati Semifinal Predictions
Richard Gasquet vs David Goffin
Head-to-head: Gasquet 1-1 Goffin
Despite missing three months of this season after a hernia operation, Gasquet has been playing some superb tennis of late. The Frenchman looked sharp last week at the Rogers Cup, where he beat Benoit Paire and Kei Nishikori before losing in the third round to Roberto Bautista Agut. He entered Cincinnati with a protected ranking and has defeated Andy Murray, Federico Delbonis and Diego Schwartzman all without losing a single set.
Gasquet then avenged his defeat to Bautista Agut in the quarterfinals, advancing to his first ATP Masters 1000 semifinal since the 2013 Miami Open after a three-set win over the Spaniard. Goffin, meanwhile, opened his campaign with a battling 6-4 4-6 6-4 win over Atlanta and Los Cabos finalist Taylor Fritz, before beating his Rogers Cup conqueror Guido Pella and Diego Schwartzman, both in straight sets, to reach the last eight.
There he had been set to play the qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka, who he lost to in Washington, but received a day off after the Japanese pulled out with illness. Goffin enjoyed an excellent grass-court season, notching ten wins, including reaching the final in Halle and the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. Goffin has managed to defend his last year’s semifinal points for a reason. The quick conditions really suit the Belgian, who likes to play on the baseline and take the ball on the rise.
The surface in Cincinnati favours players who can do just that which could give Goffin the edge against Gasquet. The Frenchman possesses a superb backhand, but his strokes require a lot more wind-up which may allow Goffin to dominate the baseline rallies. He may also struggle physically. Gasquet has played a lot of tennis of late without much opportunity to develop match toughness. Expect the well-rested Goffin to take advantage.
Prediction: Goffin in 2
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Novak Djokovic vs Daniil Medvedev
Head-to-head: Djokovic 3-1 Medvedev
It’s been quite a run for the Russian who has already won 11 matches in three weeks. Consecutive finals at Washington (lost to Kyrgios) and at Montreal (lost to Nadal) got his ATP ranking up to #8 and he will rise one more spot on Monday. So far in Cincinnati, Medvedev has been nothing short of brilliant, beating Kyle Edmund, Benoit Paire, Jan-Lennard Struff and Andrey Rublev all without dropping a set.
Whereas the 2019 Wimbledon runner-up Roger Federer might still be mentally stuck in that match, the winner of that match is back in full flight. Djokovic ripped through the draw, dismissing Sam Querrey, Pablo Carreno Busta and Lucas Pouille to advance to his seventh semifinal in Cincinnati. He’s never lost at this stage, although his title in Cincinnati last year was his first in Ohio.
Although the Russian only got his first win over the Serbian this year in Monte Carlo, the rivalry between him and Djokovic has been much closer than it looks on paper. It’s not an easy matchup for the world #1 for many of the same reasons that Bautista Agut gives him so much trouble. Medvedev might be even tougher, as not only does he cover the court superbly and put a lot of balls back into play, he also possesses a powerful serve.
The Russian can keep up with Djokovic in long rallies and wait for an occasion to take advantage of a shorter ball. He might be running on fumes though, as at some point these exhausting three weeks will surely catch up with him. It should still be a good test for the Serbian up against the form player on the tour in Medvedev. But Djokovic is a 16-time Major champion and world #1 for a reason and he rarely fails to rise to the occasion.
Prediction: Djokovic in 3
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