Sunday is a strange day in the tennis world as one tournament gets underway in Cincinnati before the one in Toronto ends but four first round matches are on what looks like a good looking schedule at the Western & Southern Open.
The ATP Cincinnati event gets up and running on Sunday and while we understandably have to wait until much deeper into the week for the truly big names to arrive on the scene, we should get some competitive action to enjoy in the meantime.
We have two matches on the Center Court on Sunday with the men’s matches mixed in with the women, who are also at the event this week, and the doubles. The day session match sees two American players looking to make progress in a home tournament when Ben Shelton goes up against Christopher Eubanks. The other match comes in the night session and sees another home player on show when Frances Tiafoe faces Tallon Griekspoor, who made the final in Washington recently.
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The other two first round matches come mixed into the schedule which includes the women’s event, the qualifying and the doubles on the outside courts. Towards the end of the schedule over on the Grandstand court two veteran French players meet when Richard Gasquet takes on Adrian Mannarino while Court 8 will be the venue for the other first round match when Gregoire Barrere takes on Yoshihito Nishioka for a place in the second round.
I’ll go with one bet from this opening set of matches and that comes in the form of the first game of the tournament where two big serving American players meet when Ben Shelton takes on Christopher Eubanks. You sense this is a big week for both of these players. Shelton is looking to defend a few points from a good run here a year ago while Eubanks is aiming to avoid his good work on the grass courts going to waste.
These two men have met three times in their career. Eubanks beat Shelton on the way to his title success in Mallorca but in their two hard court meetings it is Shelton who has come out on top. The key statistics for me is that their last two battles have gone to a deciding set and four of the eight sets they have played against each other have gone to a tiebreak. Those statistics point to a lengthy match for me, which would ring true with both having big serves and a fairly weak return game. The games line for this one is 24.5 which gets covered easily in a three setter but has every chance of landing in a straight sets win for either.
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