2018 Preview: Western & Southern Open

July 9, 2018 02:18 PM

Where: Lindner Family Tennis Center, Mason, Ohio

When: Aug. 11 - 19

Defending Champions: Grigor Dimitrov (men’s singles), Garbine Muguruza (women’s singles); Pierres-Hugues Herbert-Nicolas Mahut (men’s doubles), Latisha Chan-Martina Hingis (women’s doubles)

Tournament website: www.wsopen.com

History

With humble beginnings, The Western & Southern Open is the nation's oldest professional tennis tournament played in its city of origin.

It was first played at the Avondale Athletic Club more than a century ago, and since has grown into the grand-scale event held at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. 

First played in 1899 on the site of current day Xavier University, the Open has been a fixture in the Queen City for more than a century. The champions list reads like a who's who of tennis greats, with more than 100 International Tennis Hall of Famers having played in Cincinnati over the years.

Past Western & Southern champions include Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Virginia Wade, Rosie Casals, Lindsay Davenport, Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams among the women, and Andre Agassi, Michael Chang, Pete Sampras, Ivan Lendl, Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Boris Becker and Rafael Nadal among the men.

2017 Recap

The 2017 Western & Southern Open was a year of firsts. It was the first ATP Masters 1000 title for men’s singles champion Grigor Dimitrov, and the crowning of the first Spanish champion, with Garbine Muguruza taking the women’s singles title. 

Czech’s Lucie Safarova also ascended to the No. 1 spot in doubles for the first time, becoming the 35th woman in WTA history to hit this momentous milestone. Her and compatriot Karolina Pliskova’s semifinal run in Cincinnati cemented the top spot for Safarova. Safarova and Pliskova also became the first all-Czech duo to be No. 1 in the world. 

While Muguruza shined for Spain, her compatriot Rafael Nadal’s run in Cincinnati was cut short, thanks to Australia’s Nick Kyrgios. 

Although he appeared to flounder in his first-round match against David Goffin, Kyrgios managed to take the match in straight-sets, ousting the No. 8 seed. He went on to dismiss No. 9 seed Ivo Karlovic as well before taking down the King of Clay in their quarterfinal match. It took Kyrgios only two sets to dismiss Nadal, 6-2, 7-5. Kyrgios ultimately fell to Dimitrov, 6-3, 7-5.

On the women’s side, Muguruza’s win in Cincinnati came shortly after she won her second slam on the London lawns of Wimbledon. Seeded No. 4, Muguruza had a challenging journey on the way to the final, competing against one seed after another, including Madison Keys, Svetlana Kuzenstova and No. 1 seed Karolina Pliskova, who she dimissed in the quarterfinals. In the final, she easily toppled world No. 2 Simona Halep, 6-1, 6-2, taking in the first set in just 23 minutes. Cincinnati marked Muguruza’s first WTA title since 2015. 

In the doubles finals, men’s champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut defeated third-seeded Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, 7-6, 6-4, to claim the men’s doubles championship and their third Masters 1000 title of 2017. Latisha Chan and Martina Hingis paired up on the women’s side to collect their sixth 2017 title, with a win over Su-Wei Hsieh and Monica Niculescu.

2018 Preview

The Western & Southern Open, the fourth tournament on the US Open Series schedule, consistently attracts the finest players from both the men’s and women’s tours, and 2018 will be no different.

2017 champion Garbine Muguruza will return to Ohio once again to defend her title in Cincinnati. World No. 1 Simona Halep, 2017 semifinalist Karolina Pliscova, and 2011 Cincinnati champion Maria Sharapova are all on the entrant list. Two-time Cincinnati champion Serena Williams will return to Cincinnati for the first time since 2015. 

On the women's side, in total, the entry list includes all players in the Top 37 of the WTA rankings. 

“This is a very strong field with all of the top WTA players having entered,” said Tournament Director Andre Silva. “The past 18 months have really shown the depth of the WTA with so many different players coming through to win big titles. The strength of the field means we can look forward to exciting matches all week long when these stars come to the Western & Southern Open.”

On the men's side, past champions Rafael Nadal, Grigor Dimitrov and Marin Cilic are set to make an appearance. 

Fun Fact 

The Western & Southern Open not only gives first-class tennis to the world, but has also leveraged the event as a means to give back to the local Cincinnati community. 

Since its inception in 1899, the tournament has given approximately $10 million directly to local Cinicinnati charities, including the Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital Medical Center, the Barrett Cancer Center and Tennis for City Youth. 

 

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