The Cincinnati Masters, also known as the Western and Southern Open, is an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event played on hard court which usually takes place throughout the third week in August – seven days prior to the commencement of the US Open Championship at Flushing Meadows.
First inaugurated in 1899 at the Avondale Athletic Club where Nat Emerson triumphed in the final over Dudley Sutphin, the tournament has grown massively in stature down the years.
Now held at the Lindner Family Tennis Centre (the only non-Grand Slam venue to boast three stadium courts) the event has become an extremely important fixture for all players during the season and a great pride of the locals and people of Mason, Ohio – mainly due to the fact that the tournament is the oldest in the USA to be played in its original city.
Today, the event comprises of a 56-strong line-up of players, all of whom are guaranteed to be intent on either finding form or improving their game even further with the final Grand Slam of the year in such close proximity.
For some, the Cincinnati Masters is the perfect chance to begin adding the finishing touches to a successful year of tennis – however for others, it is the final call to establish a decent level of play in preparation for one final assault at Grand Slam glory.
As is the norm with most Masters Events, the top eight seeds all receive an automatic bye into the second phase, giving players in the mid-echelons of world tennis the eventual chance to shoot-out against one of the big names for a place in the last 16.
And players ranked in and around the World No.30 spot will be desperate to acquire ranking points in order to give themselves the best chance of being seeded at Flushing Meadows - so take note of which participants may have slightly more at stake in the early rounds with the subsequent US Open in mind.
Typically, however, any impressive run by this kind of player will inevitably be cut short by one of the big guns, with nine out of the last ten champions all holding the World No.1 spot at some point during their careers.
Step up Roger Federer, a long time dominator of the sport and hard court supremo who has lifted the trophy in Cincinnati on four occasions, tying him equal with Mats Wilander, George Lott and Bobby Riggs as one of the most successful players to grace the competition.
Moreover, Federer, like many other stars of the past, has gone on from success in Cincinnati to lift the title at Flushing Meadows in quick succession. Messrs Sampras and Agassi both completed the double during their illustrious careers and it is a trend which certainly adds a great deal of validity when betting around this period of the season.
It is not always full-proof in terms of being a US Open trial as well as a fantastic tournament it its own right – after all, nearly man Andy Murray has been crowned champion twice before agonisingly falling short in New York City.
Yet more often than not, players who prove their worth in Cincinnati seem to go on and do the business in the final major of the year.
Murray is a proven contender at this event and as long as he is match fit, the rest of the tour may have a hard job preventing him from adding to his tally in the next few years, especially as the Scot tends to play his best tennis just as the season is starting reach its climax.