Sunday, August 11, 2013

Breaking Down The Men's Single Main Draw, Part 1

We're settled into our hotel and ready for Breaking Bad the Western & Southern Open main draw action tomorrow afternoon.  In order to fully prepare for the first round showdowns, Matt and I split up the draw and broke it down with a brief and insufficient match-by-match preview. I'm up first with Novak Djokovic and the left side...

BYES: Novak Djokovic, Richard Gasquet, David Ferrer, Juan Martin Del Potro

Sitting poolside at the players hotel on Monday will be Novak Djokovic, Richard Gasquet, David Ferrer, and Juan Martin Del Potro. Djokovic, the tournament's top seed and world No. 1 player, has reached four of the last five Western & Southern Open finals, but hasn't yet lifted the trophy in Cincinnati. This year he enters the event after a tough semifinal loss to Rafael Nadal in Montreal on Saturday.

Juan Monaco vs. Jurgen Melzer

It's the classic Argentinian-righty versus Austrian-lefty in this first round matchup. Monaco, nicknamed Pico, won the Power House Cup earlier this year and currently sits at No. 30 in the world rankings. Monaco is 1-7 on hard courts in the past 12 months.

His opponent, Jurgen Melzer, is the 33rd-ranked player in the world and husband of WTAer Iveta Benesova. That's a fun name to say, isn't it? Iveta Benesova. Iveta Benesova.

Qualifier vs. Qualifier

I'm not a bettin' man, but if I had to put money on this one, I'd have to go with Qualifier advancing to the second round over Qualifier. Qualifier's serve is just too much for Qualifier to return, and considering the hot streak Qualifier is on, Qualifier doesn't stand a chance. Qualifier has an edge over Qualifier in many quality qualifications.

Vasik Pospisil vs. Gilles Simon

Vlasick Popsicle, we'll call him the Frozen Pickle, almost found himself in the finals against Nadal in Montreal after a hard-fought match with Milos Raonic in the semis. The Frozen Pickle defeated John Isner as a wild card in the tournament's opening round, one of the few times Canada has reigned supreme over America.

Gilles "Gilou" Simon is setting his love for rollerblading aside for the afternoon.

Milos Raonic vs. Jack Sock

Fresh off his Rogers Cup finals loss to Rafa Nadal, Milos Raonic has drawn the tall task of trying to keep his composure while his opponent, Jack Sock, curses and pouts roughly 70 feet away. Sock, an enemy of The Outer Courts's Matt Jones, is a young American talent but struggles controlling his temper when things aren't going his way. Look out for flying rackets in this one, folks.

Janko Tipsarevic vs. Sam Querrey

Janko "Unchained" Tipsarevic will square off with California boy Sam Querrey in this first round bout. After the match, Janko will partner with a German bounty hunter to hunt down the Brittle Brothers. A friendship will form between the bounty hunter and his new apprentice, and once the Brittles Brothers bounty is collected, the two will set out to rescue Janko's wife from an evil Mississippi plantation owner.

Florian Mayer vs. John Isner

Known for his unorthodox style of play, according to Wikipedia, Florian Mayer has a long backswing on his forehand and backhand and uses a lot of different slices and spin on his backhand side. His finishing move is the jumping backhand dropshot.

Floridian Mayor's opponent, the tall-standing John Isner, relies on his serve to crush his foes. At 6 feet, 10 inches tall, Isner is the second tallest player on the ATP tour, behind our man Ivo Karlovic. Isner attended the University of Georgia, so he probably likes to party.

Ryan Harrison vs. Alexandr Dolgopolov

There aren't many Alexandr Dolgopolovs walking around Shreveport, Louisiana, Ryan Harrison's hometown, so the American will have his hands full with the Ukrainian, no doubt. Not to mention, Dolgopolov is currently ranked No. 37 in the world, almost 70 spots ahead of Harrison.

Harrison does have the red, the white and the blue pulling for him in Cincinnati, though, and that might be just what he needs to pull off the upset. The former Oklahoma State Cowboy will look to send Dolgopolov home early, where he makes Internet games in his spare time and is paid for it, his ATP bio says.

Qualifier vs. Martin Klizan

An old country music song once taught me to never mess with the son of a general manager at an electric transformator company in Bratislava, and if Qualifier hasn't heard that song, he will learn that lesson tomorrow. Klizan, fresh off a Rogers Cup loss to Milos Raonic, is the son of a general manager at an electric transformator company in Bratislava and he's ready to send Qualifier home tomorrow singin' the blues.

James Blake vs. Jerzy Janowicz

Once the fourth-ranked player in the world, James Blake now sits at No. 99 in the rankings and is paired up against 18th-ranked Jerzy Janowicz in the Western & Southern Open's opening round. The two have never met in ATP competition before, so tomorrow will be like a first date. Kind of. Not really.

There's a Jerzy Shore pun in there somewhere but I don't have it. Moving on...

Kei Nishikori vs. Feliciano Lopez

Feliciano Lopez has his own website and its fancy, therefore I am picking him over Kei Nishikori, whose website doesn't play music or flash things at me. Maybe Nishikori should hire Alexandr Dolgopolov to add some Internet games to the site once the two are eliminated from the tourney.

Jeremy Chardy vs. Qualifier

If Qualifier isn't completely worn out from appearing in all his other matches, I think he can give Chardy a run for his money. But one would have to assume Qualifier will be completely gassed with such a seemingly endless schedule to open the tournament. With that in mind, I am picking Jeremy Chardy over Qualifier to advance to face the winner of the website matchup.

Benoit Paire vs. Nikolay Davydenko

Benoit Paire and I have a mutual friend so I feel a connection to him, although we've never met and speak different languages. And even if we didn't share a common acquaintance, I'd pull for him in this matchup because Nikolay Davydenko's photo on the ATP website terrifies me.

I mean, really, who is that angry while having their photo taken? It's like he is staring into my soul. Someone hand the man a puppy and get him out of my nightmares.

Matt will be by later with the rest of the draw....