The men head to Cincinnati this week. It's basically the same tournament, same players as last week.
Last week I picked the top four to advance to the semifinals - and they did. However, this wek I think at least one of the top four - Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray -- will lose before the semifinals. It's tough to play extremely well for back-to-back weeks against the top players in the world.
It's another great field and it should be another great tournament, a great warm-up for the U.S. Open. Here are my picks:
Nadal has some obstacles ahead of him in this section. Feliciano Lopez, Michael Llodra, Stan Wawrinka, Nicolas Almagro, Marin Cilic, Marcos Baghdatis and Tomas Berdych could pose a threat. I believe Brydch will make it through to play Nadal in the quarters, but I think Nadal is playing well and will come through in three serts.
Federer's draw isn't nearly as tough, which will help him recover from a long week in Toronto, followed by the quick turnaround in Cincy. If James Blake could find his game, he could challenge Fed, but it's doubtful that Blake will return to his old form any time soon. Sam Querrey could make it the quarters as I'm not sold on Nikolay Davydenko getting it done. Still, I like Federer to top Querrey in the quarters.
This is an intersting section. It wouldn't surprise me if Murray were to get knocked off before the semis, but this section isn't the strongest. I think Mardy Fish will get to the quarters, upsetting Fernando Verdasco along the way. I think Fish has a chance against Murray, but I'm still taking the Brit in three sets.
This is where I smell an upset. The Djoker has been playing well, but I just don't see him doing it two weeks in a row. His first match will be against either Viktor Troicki or Radek Stepanek. If either of those guys don't take him out I think either David Nalbandian of John Isner will. The top part of the section is loaded with great players - Robin Soderling, Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick. The American just found out he is recovering from Mono (maybe he should stop kissing Brooklyn Decker so much). I think it will take Roddick a few weeks to get back to 100 precent. Soderling didn't have a great tournament in Toronto, but I think he is due for a big one this week.
Nadal vs. Federer
This is the match everyone wanted to see in Toronto, but in Cincy it will come a round earlier than most people would want. I think it will be a great match, but I really like how Federer is playing.
Pick: Federer in three sets
Murray vs. Soderling
Murray is starting to play really well, and playing aggressively. However, I think he is due for a small setback in Cincy.
Pick: Soderling in two sets
Federer vs. Soderling
It appears the Federer-Paul Annacone experiment is working well and I think they will have even more success in Cincy.
Pick: Federer in two sets