TENNIS

ATP Cincinnati Day 3 Predictions Including Nadal vs Coric

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Day three will be lively at the ATP Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati with the return of Rafael Nadal. Nadal is today’s headliner in his first tournament since Wimbledon. The slate is also solid with title contenders such as Felix Auger-Aliassime, Andrey Rublev and Roberto Bautista Agut. It’s going to be another great day of tennis, with all matches scheduled at Last Word on Tennis, as always. We’ve split the rest of the day’s matches between two other articles. One features Nick Kyrgios versus Taylor Fritz and the other Andy Murray versus Cameron Norrie.

Cincinnati Day 3 ATP Predictions

Felix Auger-Aliassime against Alex de Minaur

Face-to-face: 1-1

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Although this is the third meeting between the two, it is the first time they have faced each other since 2018. Both players have had good years and won titles on hard courts. De Minaur looked strong at times and made good runs, but often struggled to beat top players. Auger-Aliassime has had its ups and downs over the year with several good results mixed with small losses. He will be looking to recover from a bad loss last week against Casper Ruud where he only managed to win three games.

De Minaur also suffered a tough loss in Montreal to Nick Kyrgios, although he had a great run beating Grigor Dimitrov and Denis Shapovalov. De Minaur will try to use his speed to take on the Canadian from the baseline, but Auger-Aliassime will make it difficult for him with his power on the right side and backhand. Auger-Aliassime will provide too much of a challenge for de Minaur who hasn’t looked as dangerous as in the past. The fast courts will play into his game and while the Aussie won’t make it easy, he will retire late to win the game.
Prediction: Auger-Aliassime in 3

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Roberto Bautista Agut against Marcos Giron

Face-to-face: 1-0 Bautista Agut

These two are playing for the second time in as many weeks, with Bautista Agut winning the match in straight sets. Even at 34, Bautista Agut still looks as dangerous and in better physical shape. He is in great form and recently won the clay court title in Kitzbuhel and once again looked strong on the hard courts in Montreal.

Giron was transferred to the hard courts early, but struggled early on. He lost his first two matches on the surface, although he qualified in Montreal and Cincinnati. Giron have been improving lately but just haven’t had a great year overall. He got results in qualifying but showed he wasn’t quite on the level of some of the top players. Bautista Agut is the opposite, both in talent and form, and his physical and solid game makes him a threat to win even on bad days. Bautista Agut won last week in straight sets against Giron and once again has too many tools and physical strength for Giron to pass.
Prediction: Bautista Agut in 2

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Fabio Fognini vs Andrei Rublev

Face-to-face: 5-4 Rublev

While their rivalry has been competitive over their career, Rublev has dominated recent encounters winning four games in a row, two of them on hard courts. Rublev had a solid year, winning three titles including two on hard court. He hasn’t looked the sharpest in recent weeks, losing his last two games in situations where he struggled to hold serve.

Fognini is not a great hard court player, and he lost the last qualifying round here against Marcus Giron. He made the most of his Lucky Loser status by beating fellow clay court specialist Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the first round. Rublev will be a much tougher challenge, and as long as he takes care of business on the serve, he should be able to win easily. Rublev has won six straight sets against Fognini, four of them on hard, and it will be no different. Fognini won’t be as big of a threat on serve as Dan Evans was last week, so Rublev will hold and pass Fognini in two convincing sets.
Prediction: Rublev in 2

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Rafael Nadal vs Borna Coric

Face-to-face: 2-2

Nadal returns to the court for the first time after withdrawing from Wimbledon ahead of their semi-final. After watching training videos, he appears to be in good physical shape and ready to return to the highest level he has played at all year. Coric has fond memories of playing Nadal, beating his as a teenager, which led to his rapid rise as a young star. Unfortunately, injuries and poor form prevented Coric from reaching the potential that many thought he could achieve. He’s had a solid year overall after missing time through injury, although his best results in 2022 are on clay.

Coric lost last week in Montreal to compatriot Marin Cilic, where he just didn’t seem ready for elite-level tennis yet. He managed to get a first-round victory here, although he came against Lorenzo Musetti who is much less dangerous on hard courts than on clay. Nadal’s only concern is his health, but at this point he’s probably given himself some extra rest to ensure he’s fully ready to play. He’s had an incredible run to the Australian Open title and hopes to get back to being comfortable on the hard courts with his sights set on the US Open. Nadal will be a bit rusty to start but will quickly shake it off and head for victory.
Prediction: Nadal in 2

Main photo by Getty.

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