Japanese ace Nishikori can celebrate in Cincinnati
Big-serving Querrey too big at 50-1
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Roger Federer has defied age and expectations in his extraordinary season but he has played a lot of matches lately and that may be enough to stop the Swiss ace claiming a seventh title in Cincinnati.
Federer clinched a record-breaking eighth Wimbledon crown last month and has been in blistering form in Montreal. But the Swiss legend has the trickier half of the draw to contend with and his busy schedule may soon take its toll.
Federer’s chances are clear-cut but at 13-8 he’s worth opposing, particularly when Grigor Dimitrov, Tomas Berdych and Jack Sock are the other seeds in his quarter.
It could be worth targeting the top half, where top seed Rafael Nadal is berthed. Nadal was dominant during the clay season – highlighted by his tenth French Open title at Roland Garros – but he has struggled since and the faster surface can often catch him out.
The Spaniard was stunned by veteran Gilles Muller in the fourth round at Wimbledon and crashed out in Montreal to Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov having been a set up.
Nadal hasn’t won a hard-court title since reigning supreme in Doha in 2014.
Dominic Thiem would be a danger to all if operating at his best. But it’s a huge worry that he tends to fall short against big-servers and a potential last-16 encounter with Sam Querrey is enough to oppose him.
Instead, Japanese ace Kei Nishikori may be the one to focus on. The world number nine has had his career blighted by injury but he has been performing to a decent level and at his best would make a mockery of his quarter.
Querrey is arguably Nishikori’s toughest test before the last four and the American is worth a saver. His giant serve allows him to rattle off service games in quick time and that should make him a tough nut to crack.
Querrey reached the last four at Wimbledon in July and has claimed two hard-court titles in Mexico this year.
1pt each-way 18-1 Coral, Ladbrokes
0.5pt each-way 50-1 Betfair, Paddy Power