Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
With just a fortnight to go until the fourth and final Grand Slam of the year, the road to New York is really heating up and the world’s top tennis stars will all be desperate to succeed at the Arthur Ashe Stadium next month.
Both Men’s and Women’s events will be wide open and there are a number of candidates ready to stake their claim for the respective titles.
Before that, though, is the little matter of this week’s Cincinnati Masters. The next month or so should serve up some truly memorable moments.
You wouldn’t want to miss it for the world!
Tsonga & Radwanska Claim Rogers Cup Titles
Last week’s action in Toronto served up some fantastic matches and a tournament of upsets was underlined by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s heroics against Roger Federer in Sunday’s final.
The Frenchman’s triumph is hardly an earth-shattering shock but the 29-year-old did defy the odds on three occasions en route to the title. Having first knocked out favourite Novak Djokovic in the third round, he went on to dash the hopes of Andy Murray and Grigor Dimitrov before finally defeating Federer to lift the crown.
That win will inevitably raise Tsonga’s hopes of finally claiming a Grand Slam in America. Meanwhile, the other top stars will be out to build their momentum ahead of the U.S Open with victory in Cincinatti this week.
In the WTA event, Polish star Agnieszka Radwanska overcame a rejuvenated Venus Williams in straight sets to get her hands on the crown in Montreal.
The Pole may have been fortunate to avoid the likes of Serena, Petra Kvitova and Jelena Jankovic in Canada but you cannot take anything away from her triumph and it will provide her with a real lift ahead of the U.S Open.
However, despite her obvious disappointment, it is Venus who will be probably take the most from last week’s action. The elder Williams sister overcame the likes of Angelique Kerber and Carla Suarez-Navarra before despatching Serena in the last four and will be taking a lot of confidence into Cincinnati.
If she enjoys a positive tournament this week, then she may just be able to rekindle her dream of winning a third home Grand Slam – 13 years after her second.
Nevertheless, it will be Serena who enter the final Grand Slam as the favourite and she’ll be confident of defending her crown regardless of that loss to Venus in Canada.
Djokovic Gunning For History In Cincinnati
Wimbledon champ Novak Djokovic may have lost out to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Toronto but the Serbian can make amends by claiming another piece of history at this week’s event in Cincinnati.
Victory this week would see Djokovic become the first player in history to win all nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles, claiming the Career Golden Masters in the process.
The 19-time Masters winner fell at the final hurdle to Rafael Nadal twelve months ago. However, with the defending champ still missing through injury, Djokovic will fancy his chances at this year’s Western & Southern Open.
Toronto champ Roger Federer could pose the biggest threat to Djokovic as the Swiss superstar bids for a sixth title. Meanwhile, the likes of Stanislas Wawrinka and British star Andy Murray will be amongst those looking to make inroads in Cincinnati and everyone involved will be looking for a positive week as the U.S Open draws closer.
Nevertheless, it is Djokovic who has the biggest incentive to win and that could give the 27-year-old an extra edge here.
Novak Djokovic to win ATP Cincinnati is 11/8 with Ladbrokes
Excitement Rising Ahead Of U.S Open
There may still be a fortnight to go but the anticipation for the U.S Open are already palpable. As the tournament edges closer, that excitement will only grow further.
Of all the Grand Slams, this is the one that is often hardest to predict and that alone makes it a truly fascinating fortnight of world-class tennis. In the past seven years we have seen six different Men’s champions. Meanwhile, you only have to go back 10 years to reach the same number of separate Women’s winners.
The U.S Open not only provides a variety of winners it statistically offers the best chance for potential new Grand Slam winners. Several players, including Murray, have lifted their first major titles in New York and that will offer the likes of Tsonga a lifeline heading into this event.
Defending Men’s champ Nadal should return for the Grand Slam but that wrist injury could hinder his chances of success at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. That opens it up to the likes of Federer, Wawrinka and Murray to take advantage and we could be in for a truly classic tournament.
However, we are backing Djokovic to prevail. The Serb has reached the final in each of the past four years, beating Nadal in 2011 and losing the other three, and will be fancied to make that five on the spin in 2014. With that, we’re tipping him to lift his second title in the States.
Novak Djokovic to win US Open is 11/8 with Bet365