Top 10 missing tennis players set to return to Cincinnati

Top 10 regulars will be back on the pitch at the ATP and WTA Masters in Cincinnati this week in the last big event before the US Open.

The men’s draw will still be without the injured pair of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and lead Novak Djokovic, who continues his post-Olympic decompression before attempting to complete a one-calendar-year Grand Slam.

But others will make comebacks, led by Olympic champion Alexander Zverev, who missed the ATP Canada event while recovering from his gold medal.

The German occupies third place in Cincinnati behind Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Zverev, 24, already holds three Masters 1000 titles as well as the year-end championships in London in 2018.

But after his Olympic feat, he’s focused on a groundbreaking Grand Slam trophy, with Cincinnati leading the tune-up ahead of the New York Fortnight, which begins August 30.

“I have never won a Grand Slam,” Zverev said. “But I was two points from one last year in New York,” when he lost to Austria’s Dominic Thiem.

Italy’s Matteo Berrettini played in the Wimbledon final against Djokovic well over a month ago, but skipped the North American prelims to heal an injury.

He is ranked fifth behind Russian Andrey Rublev.

Still out of competition, Thiem, who has been recovering from a wrist injury for nearly two months.

Medvedev is shaping up to be the man to beat at the event, which plans to bring a full complement of fans into the stands at the Midwest site.

Last year’s Cincinnati event was moved to New York City due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The top-eight seeds receive first-round passes, with Medvedev facing the winner of a pair of wild card entries, Americans Brandon Nakashima and Mackenzie McDonald.

The women’s draw will once again host the current best pair in the world: Australian Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka, respectively the top two seeds.

Osaka is back on the pitch for the first time since losing in the third round of the Tokyo Olympics on July 27.

The Japanese-Haitian player, who grew up in New York, has pledged to dedicate her earnings from the Cincinnati tournament to the relief effort in Haiti to come to the aid of the natural disaster that struck this weekend.

“I am about to play a tournament this week and I will give the full cash prize to the relief efforts for Haiti,” she said. “I know the blood of our ancestors is strong, we will continue to increase.”

Barty took a hiatus from his Olympic loss in the first round and returns to Cincinnati two years after losing here in the semi-finals to Svetlana Kuznetwova.

Montreal semi-finalist Aryna Sabalenka takes third place ahead of Elina Svitolina.

Last year’s Roland Garros winner Iga Swiatek from Poland is also back in the peloton after reaching Tokyo’s second round.

Male seeds:

Daniil Medvedev (RUS x1)

Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x2)

Alexander Zverev (GER x3)

Alexandre Rublev (RUS x4)

Matteo Berrettini (ITA x5)

Denis Shapovalov (CAN x6)

Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP x7)

Casper Ruud (NOR x8)

Hubert Hurkacz (POL x9)

Diego Schwartzman (ARG x10)

Sinful Jannik (ITA x11)

Félix Auger-Aliassime (CAN x12)

Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x13)

Alex de Minaur (AUS x14)

David Goffin (BEL x15)

Cristian Garin (CHI x16)

Feminine seeds:

Ashleigh Barty (AUS x1)

Naomi Osaka (JPN x2)

Aryna Sabalenka (BLR x3)

Elina Svitolina (UKR x4)

Karolina Pliskova (CZE x5)

Iga Swiatek (POL x6)

Bianca Andreescu (CAN x7)

Garbine Muguruza (ESP x8)

Barbora Krejcikova (CZE x9)

Belinda Bencic (SWI x10)

Petra Kvitova (CZE x11)

Simona Halep (ROM x12)

Jennifer Brady (United States x13)

Victoria Azarenka (BLR x14)

Elise Mertens (BEL x15)

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS x16)

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