Tennis fans don't have to wait long after London's Olympic competition to enjoy world-class tennis, not with the Western & Southern Open taking place this weekend.
The tournament's Round of 16 is underway as we speak in Cincinnati, Ohio with the men's quarterfinal matchups set to kick-off on Friday.
Then we reach the semifinals, and that's where things are going to get interesting. I'm going to skip the quarterfinal stage and look right at the semis. Four of tennis' top players will get a chance to add to their trophy collection.
Let's predict the final four competitors in this year's Western & Southern Open.
Roger Federer vs. Tomas Berdych
Berdych is going to get a tough match from Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarterfinals, but I'd like him to push through to face the iconic Federer.
I actually think he has a chance to defeat the tournament's No. 1 overall seed. Federer's groundstrokes don't carry the same pace on a hardcourt, and Berdych isn't a slouch on the court himself. He's ranked No. 5 in this tournament, and he is a solid all-around competitor.
Federer will use his Olympic disappointment to claim victory over Berdych in this one. He's too talented, and too focused, to finish poorly in two straight tournaments.
This match will go three sets, but Federer wins.
Juan Martin del Potro vs. Novak Djokovic
Andy Murray would have been a dream scenario here, but he was defeated by Jeremy Chardy in the Round of 16. That leaves Del Potro as the biggest challenger to Djokovic in the semifinals.
The last time these two met was in London, and Del Potro reigned victorious. Del Potro won, but he is 2-4 against Djokovic in his career.
Failing to earn a gold medal in London doesn't sit well with elite players like Djokovic, and Del Potro will fall here. Djokovic would have beaten Murray for the same reason.
It's hard to find a flaw in Djokovic's game. He plays well on hard courts, and he knows how to play Del Potro. His groundstrokes will move Del Potro, and eventually he will wear him down.
I don't see him winning in straight sets, but it's certainly possible. One thing that is certain: Djokovic and Federer will square off in the final.
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