Andy Murray makes his much-awaited return to singles tennis at the Cincinnati Masters while Novak Djokovic has been handed a difficult draw in this competition that will kick-start from Sunday, August 11.
The Britain player had earlier confirmed he had accepted a wild-card from the ATP Cincinnati organisers and he will now take on Richard Gasquet in his tournament opener. If Murray does win his opening round match against his French opponent, he would face Dominic Thiem, the fourth seed, in the second round. Thiem, the other top-eight seeds, has a first round bye.
Some of the other seeds in Murray’s quarter include Marin Cilic, Roberto Bautista-Agut and Alexander Zverev.
Top seeded Djokovic, who will kick-start the competition as the defending champion, will face one of Sam Querrey or Pierre-Hugues Herbert in his second round match while John Isner could await him in the third. His first major tough could come in the quarter-final where he faces either Nick Kyrgios or Karen Khachanov.
Djokovic is also in line to face Roger Federer in the semi-final, after both of the Wimbledon finalists were placed in the same half.
Federer, seeded third, will possibly begin his campaign with a second round match against Matteo Berrettini before a possible third round match against one of fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka, hitting partner Grigor Dimitrov or Nikoloz Basilashvili.
The Swiss maestro also has Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas in his quarter, with a possible match-up against one of those two in his last-eight encounter.
Second seeded Rafael Nadal takes on the winner of the first round match between Cristian Garin and Adrian Mannarino with David Goffin being a possible third round opponent. If sixth seeded Kei Nishikori makes it as far as the quarter-final, he could be Nadal’s opposition there while Thiem or Zverev could make the semi-final and face the Spaniard.
The women’s section of the draw will have the top seed Ash Barty in line to play the struggling wild-card entrant Maria Sharapova in her second round match. Sharapova will need to overcome the fellow wild-card Alison Riske in her opener to set up that meeting.
Barty’s potential third round opponent is Angelique Kerber, but the German will need to get past Anett Kontaveit and Caroline Garcia to make it that far. Petra Kvitova, seeded sixth, is in the same quarter too and if she can get past Aryna Sabalenka in the third round, could face the Australian top seed in the last-eight stage.
The third seeded Karolina Pliskova will be awaiting Barty in the semi-final if she can get past the likes of Biana Andreescu, Johanna Konta and Sloane Stephens in her earlier rounds. Defending champion and fifth seed Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens could have a troublesome path to the last-eight stage with Venus Williams and Belinda Bencic before that. Simona Halep will be her potential quarter-final opponent.
Second seeded Naomi Osaka, who will be unveiled the number one on Monday, shouldn’t have any problem getting to the quarter-finals but that’s where she could face Serena Williams again. Williams defeated her at the Rogers Cup earlier this today in straight sets. Williams will need to overcome Elina Svitolina to set up this encounter.