ATP Weekly Update week 33: Novak Djokovic makes history in Cincinnati

ATP Weekly Update week 33: Novak Djokovic makes history in Cincinnati

The old guard cleaned up at the Masters 1000 tournament in Cincinnati this week, with Novak Djokovic adding the ninth and final jewel to his Masters 1000 crown.

pete-borkowski
Pete Borkowski

Here is your VAVEL USA ATP Weekly Update. Every Monday, we will be posting results and analysis from the previous week’s singles action on the ATP World Tour, along with a preview to the upcoming week. Keep coming back to VAVEL USA every Monday for your ATP Weekly Update.

History was made this week on the ATP World Tour. With only one event on the schedule, one of the tour’s biggest stars brought home the title to mark a never-before dreamed-of first in men’s singles. Here is your ATP Weekly Update for week 33 of the 2018 season.

Last Week’s Results

Cincinnati

After spending most of his career in the shadow of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic did something that the other two have not come close to accomplishing. The Serbian won the Western and Southern Open this past week to become the first singles player to win all nine current Masters 1000 titles, beating Federer to do it no less.

Novak Djokovic hoists the one Masters 1000 trophy he had yet to win prior to last week in Cincinnati. Photo: Noel Alberto/VAVEL USA
Novak Djokovic hoists the one Masters 1000 trophy he had yet to win prior to last week in Cincinnati. Photo: Noel Alberto/VAVEL USA

Djokovic had lost in five previous finals in Cincinnati and a title seemed unlikely after a brutal first five rounds. Just to reach the final, he trailed Adrian Mannarino by a set, defending champion Grigor Dimitrov by a set and a break, and Milos Raonic by a break in the final set just to reach the semifinals where he needed three sets to put away 2016 champion Marin Cilic. But in the final, the Serb was rock solid, taking out seven-time champion Federer in straight sets to win the title that has eluded him the most and make history.

Federer was competing in his first event since Wimbledon and had been solid, dropping only one set on his way to the final. His toughest test came in an all-Swiss quarterfinal battle with Stan Wawrinka, where the second seed dropped the opening set before winning in three. Despite the easier road, it was actually Federer who ran out of gas in the final.

Roger Federer celebrates his third-round win in Cincinnati, the first of two wins on Friday. Photo: Noel Alberto/VAVEL USA
Roger Federer celebrates his third-round win in Cincinnati, the first of two wins on Friday. Photo: Noel Alberto/VAVEL USA

David Goffin was the giant-killer of the week, somewhat literally. The Belgian reached the semifinals, by beating 6’8 Kevin Anderson and 6’6 Juan Martin del Potro on the same day to reach the semifinals, where he was forced to retire with a shoulder injury after dropping the opening set to Federer. He also took out Toronto finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first round.

Rain was a major factor in the week. Persistent storms from Tuesday to Thursday wreaked havoc on the tournament, forcing many stars, including Federer, Goffin, and del Potro to play two full matches on the Friday. Djokovic needed to finish the final set of his third-round match before playing his quarterfinal on Friday as well.

Rankings Update

Mover of the Week: Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic had to battle through several tough matches on his way to the Cincinnati title. Photo: Noel Alberto/VAVEL USA
Novak Djokovic had to battle through several tough matches on his way to the Cincinnati title. Photo: Noel Alberto/VAVEL USA

It may not have been a big jump, but it was significant. The Cincinnati champion climbed four spots in the rankings up to number six. He may still be a ways back of Rafael Nadal for the top spot, but the climb ensures that he will be a top-eight seed at the US Open and will avoid an early match-up with Federer or Nadal.

David Goffin’s semifinal run allowed him to climb back into the top ten at number ten. The two top Canadians, Milos Raonic and Denis Shapovalov, who actually met in the third round in Cincinnati with Raonic advancing to the quarterfinals, kept pace in their battle for their battle for their country’s top spot, each climbing four spots to 25 and 28 respectively.

There were more significant losers than winners in the rankings after Cincinnati. Defending champion Grigor Dimitrov fell three spots down to number eight after his third-round loss, which allowed Kevin Anderson to return to his career-high of number five. 2017 runner-up Nick Kyrgios fell 12 spots to number 30.

Race to London

Place Name Points Change
1 x-Rafael Nadal 6760 -
2 Roger Federer 4620 +1
3 Novak Djokovic 4445 +2
4 Alexander Zverev 4275 -2
5 Juan Martin del Potro 3710 -1
6 Marin Cilic 3455 +1
7 Kevin Anderson 3270 -1
8 Dominic Thiem 3005 -
9 John Isner 2570 -
10 Fabio Fognini  1895 -
11 Kei Nishikori 1755 +1
12 Stefanos Tsitsipas 1737 -1

There was a considerable shakeup among the eight players sitting in qualifying spots for London, although the same eight men stayed in the top eight and kept the separation between them and the chase pack. Only number one Rafael Nadal, still the lone person to have qualified for London, and eighth place Dominic Thiem stayed in the same spot.

After the Cincinnati final, a familiar three-some now sit in the top three spots in the Race to London. By reaching the final, Roger Federer reclaimed the second spot in the race, while the Cincinnati champion Novak Djokovic jumped two spots up to number three. Alexander Zverev, who lost in the second round for the second year in a row in Cincinnati, was their victim as he fell from second to fourth. Juan Martin del Potro also fell one spot to number five.

By reaching the semifinals, Marin Cilic flipped spots with Kevin Anderson, who fell in the third round. David Goffin had the biggest jump of the week, moving up eight spots to number 15, although he is still around 1400 points of Thiem for the final qualifying spot.

This Week’s Action

With the US Open only a week away, there is only one small event on the ATP schedule this week.

Winston-Salem

Most of the tour’s best are taking the week off to rest before the US Open. However, those in need of a little extra practice before the season’s final major will head to Winston-Salem, North Carolina for the Winston-Salem Open. The field is led by world number 13 Pablo Carreno Busta and world number 16 Kyle Edmund, who are the lone top-20 players in action this week.

Pablo Carreno Busta claimed the trophy in Winston Salem back in 2016. Photo: Winston Salem Open
Pablo Carreno Busta claimed the trophy in Winston Salem back in 2016. Photo: Winston Salem Open

David Goffin was initially to be the top seed but withdrew due to a shoulder injury acquired in Cincinnati. Carreno Busta is the only former champion in the draw, having won back in 2016. All sixteen seeds are top 50 players. Other notable entrants include last month’s Newport Champion Steve Johnson, French Open semifinalist Marco Cecchinato and recent Washington runner-up Alex de Minaur.

Check back next Monday for a wrap up of week 34 and a look ahead to week 35 on the ATP World Tour. Come to www.vavel.com/en-us/tennis-usa/ every Monday or follow us on twitter @VAVELUSATennis for your #ATPWeeklyUpdate

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