2011 Cincinnati Masters Preview: Rafael Nadal Has an Easy Draw

Shane LambertAnalyst IIAugust 13, 2011

Rafael Nadal
Rafael NadalMatthew Stockman/Getty Images

The main draw for the 2011 Cincinnati Masters (Western & Southern Open) was released on Friday, and Rafael Nadal received a fortunate draw.

Like all of the players seeded in the top eight, Nadal will receive a bye through the first round, however, even when he begins play in the second round, he appears to have a draw clear of danger.

In Montreal, the Spaniard went out in his first match as Ivan Dodig of Croatia caused an uproar with the upset. However Dodig, who might not be too well known to the casual fan, has actually been having a pretty good season in 2011.

In Cincinnati there doesn't appear as though there will be a Dodig-type early round opponent for Nadal.

In the second round the Spaniard will face either a qualifier or Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, a player who has been coughing up tons of losses to weak players recently.

Garcia-Lopez has fallen to players outside of the top 50 or the top 100 on a regular basis lately, and he's hardly poised to take Nadal out. In fact, the unknown qualifier may very well make the second round instead of Garcia-Lopez.

Nadal's prospective third round match will probably be against either Mikhail Youzhny or Fernando Verdasco and neither player has been having a great season in 2011. They are both doing all right, however Youzhny does not have a win over a top 10 player this year.

Verdasco has one win over a top 10 player, but that was on clay.

The highest seeded player in Nadal's quarter besides the two seed is seventh seeded Mardy Fish, which makes a Nadal versus Fish quarterfinal a possibility.

Fish is certainly playing well, making it into the final at ATP Montreal and the final last season in Cincinnati (lost to Federer).

However, if Fish should make the quarters in Cincinnati this season, he will be a fatigued player. His conditioning has improved in the last year and a half, but after making the final in Montreal, Fish probably won't have much left in the tank for a deep run in Cincinnati.

At least Fish won't be fresh compared to Nadal, who enters Cincinnati well rested, having suffered an early round loss at the Rogers Cup. 

Nadal looks great to make at least the semifinals in Cincinnati next week where he could face Andy Murray, although the Scot does share a quarter with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and David Ferrer.