What We Learn About the US Open from the Rogers Cup and Cincinnati Open

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What We Learn About the US Open from the Rogers Cup and Cincinnati Open
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The U.S. Open Series is the heart of the summer hard courts season with Masters 1000 titles in Canada and Cincinnati. The third and most important tournament is the final Grand Slam event of the year, the U.S. Open in New York.

This week’s Canada Open will soon award the Rogers Cup to someone in men’s tennis, but how likely is it that this champion will win the U.S. Open in September? How well does Canada or Cincinnati predict the eventual U.S. Open winner?

We examined all three venues in the Open era to identify multiple winners at each of these tournaments. What does this mean in terms of winning the U.S. Open?

Additionally, we break down the last 20 years (1994-2013) of how often the winners of Canada and Cincinnati go on to win the U.S. Open. Which tournament is the more important predictor of identifying the year’s final Grand Slam titleholder?

Ron Frehm/Associated Press

 

Canada: Multiple Titles

Since the Open era of tennis began in 1968, there have been eight players who have won the Canada Open at least twice. All of them won at least one U.S. Open title.

Guillermo Vilas       2 titles (1974, '76)

John McEnroe         2 titles (1984-85)

Ivan Lendl              6 titles (1980-81, '83, 87-89)

Andre Agassi          3 titles (1992, 94-95)

Rafael Nadal           3 titles (2005, '08, '13)

Roger Federer         2 titles (2004, '06)

Novak Djokovic      3 titles (2007, 11-12)

Andy Murray          2 titles (2009-10)

 

Other Notes

  • Bjorn Borg won the Canada Open only once and never won the U.S. Open.
  • Jimmy Connors never won the Canada Open but won the U.S. Open five times.
  • Pete Sampras never won the Canada Open but also won the U.S. Open five times.

Al Behrman/Associated Press

 

Cincinnati: Multiple Titles

Since the Open era of tennis, there have been nine players who have won the Cincinnati Western & Southern Open at least twice. Seven of these players won the U.S. Open at least once:

Harold Solomon      2 titles (1977, '80)

Mats Wilander        4 titles (1983-84, '86, '88)

Stefan Edberg        2 titles (1987, '90)

Pete Sampras        3 titles (1992, '97, '99)

Michael Chang        2 titles (1993-94)

Andre Agassi          3 titles (1995-96, '04)

Andy Roddick         2 titles (2003, '06)

Roger Federer        5 titles (2005, '07, '09, '10, '12)

Andy Murray          2 titles (2008, '11)

 

Other Notes

  • Harold Solomon and Michael Chang never won the U.S. Open.
  • Jimmy Connors won his only Cincinnati title in 1972.
  • John McEnroe won his only Cincinnati title in 1981.
  • Ivan Lendl won his only Cincinnati title in 1982.

Elsa/Getty Images

 

Winning Canada and U.S. Open in the Same Year

We examined the past 20 years (1994-2013). There are eight times that the winner of the Canada Open went on to win the U.S. Open. This is a 40 percent rate, and a very solid predictor.

1994 Andre Agassi

1998 Patrick Rafter

2000 Marat Safin

2003 Andy Roddick

2004 Roger Federer

2006 Roger Federer

2011 Novak Djokovic

2013 Rafael Nadal

David Kohl/Associated Press

 

Winning Cincinnati and U.S. Open in the Same Year

In the past 20 years, there are only five times that the winner of the Western & Southern Open went on to win the U.S. Open. This is a 25 percent rate, less of an indicator than Canada.

1998 Patrick Rafter

2003 Andy Roddick

2005 Roger Federer

2007 Roger Federer

2013 Rafael Nadal

What’s interesting about the Cincinnati list is that the three winners not named Roger Federer swept all three titles, Canada, Cincinnati and the U.S. Open. So in the last 20 years, only Federer has won just Cincinnati and the U.S. Open in the same year. Again, the Canada Open is a much more reliable indicator of who will win the U.S. Open.

Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

 

Winning Canada and Cincinnati in the Same Year

We must first recognize American Eddie Dibbs, who won Canada and Cincinnati in 1978. He was the only Open era player to do so until 1995. Dibbs was a fine player who liked clay courts, twice a semifinalist at Roland Garros. He won 22 career titles and achieved a career-high No. 5 ranking in summer 1978. Dibbs never appeared in a Grand Slam final.

Besides Dibbs, only Andre Agassi (1995) won Canada and Cincinnati without also winning the U.S. Open. As listed prior, Patrick Rafter (1998), Andy Roddick (2003) and Rafael Nadal (2013) are the only players to collect this triple crown of hard courts tennis.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

 

What this Means for 2014

Perhaps the Canada Open winner is usually a stronger bet to win the U.S. Open because he is more willing to pace himself at Cincinnati, rather than become fatigued for the U.S. Open.

Federer is the notable exception of this idea. He likes the faster courts at Cincinnati and twice bounced back from disappointing results in Canada to win Cincinnati and the U.S. Open.

Pay attention to the Rogers Cup winner. All of the top stars are coming in fresh and hungry to win a Masters 1000 title. The player who wins it will not only be playing the best tennis but have a big confidence boost going forward.

Cincinnati is more of the summer’s second-chance Masters tournament, usually won by great champions, but less likely to hold the U.S. Open trophy than the Rogers Cup winner.

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