Cincinnati Masters: Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer in Action Thursday

Shane Lambert@uncoolnegatedAnalyst IIAugust 18, 2011

Novak Djokvoic
Novak DjokvoicElsa/Getty Images

The 2011 Cincinnati Masters continue on Thursday with the top four players on the men's tour all on the Order of Play.

Rafael Nadal will open Center Court from the Western & Southern Open as the world no. 2 faces fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco. Verdasco has played Nadal tough before but overall he is a lesser representative of his country as Nadal looks to improve to 12-0 against the world no. 21 (11am start time).

At about the same time Andy Murray will be playing on Court 3 as he faces Alex Bogomolov Jr., an American player still trying to make a name for himself. Bogomolov Jr. does have a career victory over Murray as the American beat the Scot in the Miami Masters earlier this year.

Novak Djokovic looks to continue his hard court success later in the day as he faces a tricky opponent in Radek Stepanek (not before 2:30pm). Stepanek has a recent hard court title as he reigned supreme at ATP Washington not long ago, an event that is part of the 500 series.

The veteran is clearly playing well as he has re-surged into the top 30 despite nearing the age of 33. Few players are like that however on Thursday the Czech star looks outmatched as he is just 1-5 against Djokovic in their history.

Fan favorite Roger Federer is on the evening session from Cincinnati on Thursday as he will face James Blake. Blake is a player much in need of some momentum right now as he is ranked just 84th in the world.

A match against Federer is not exactly where a struggling veteran generally looks to find form and the Swiss Maestro will have the confidence in the match.

In previous head to head meetings, Federer is 9-1 against Blake and 8-1 on the hard court surface.

Other top players in action on the men's draw include David Ferrer (not before 2:30) as he faces Gilles Simon and Tomas Berdych as he contends with Nicolas Almagro (following the Murray match).