— Blair Henley (@BlairHenley) August 15, 2016
Predicted Winners in BOLD
(WC) Taylor Fritz VS (Q) Mikhail Youzhny – This is an interesting match of two players at opposite ends of their careers. I think Youzhny’s ability to get some returns back in play with his chipping and slicing backhand will make the difference.
Fabio Fognini VS John Isner – This is an interesting match. Isner stayed away from Rio and should be fresh and focused after a runner-up finish in Atlanta. Fognini pushed Murray to 3 sets in the olympic round of 16 and then headed for Ohio. I think Isner will have solid crowd support and his serve may drive Fognini nuts. At a different venue, I’d probably pick Fognini, but Isner is a different player on US soil for whatever reason.
(WC) Jared Donaldson VS (2) Stan Wawrinka – Stan has a great chance to add to his ranking profile in Cincinnati.
(9) Gael Monfils VS Pablo Carreno Busta – Gael let a few match points slip away vs. Kei Nishikori in Rio. So long as he is not dwelling on missing out on the medal round by one point, he should win this match given his summer form.
(LL) Adrian Mannarino VS (13) Richard Gasquet – Gasquet should win this match in routine fashion, but is anything routine for Richard?
Steve Johnson VS Federico Delbonis – Johnson got a hero’s welcome in Cincinnati for his bronze medal in doubles. I think his good feelings carry over to a win here.
Nicolas Mahut VS (15) Roberto Bautista Agut – Bautista Agut should win so long as he forces Mahut to play some tough returns at the net and forces Mahut into baseline rallies.
(11) David Goffin VS (Q) Nikoloz Basilashvili – I watched the Georgian a bit in qualifying play on Sunday vs. G. Elias. He is a solid enough player, but Goffin should use his baseline hugging style to win in a straightforward manner.
(WC) Fernando Verdasco VS Albert Ramos-Vinolas – I am probably a sucker for picking Hot Sauce. He has explosive power in his shots, but is not terribly reliable.
(16) Feliciano Lopez VS (Q) Mischa Zverev – FLo was a runner-up in Mexico on Saturday and won a title in Gstaad. So long as his legs are not still in Mexico I think he can win this match against a promising youngster.
Ivo Karlovic VS (PR) Juan Monaco – Ivo is on a roll having just won in Mexico. His title in Newport and runner-up finish in DC have amounted to 800 ranking points over 3 selected summer events for the big man.
(Q) Malek Jaziri VS (Q) John Millman – I like Milman to win pretty easily.
(Q) Jiri Vesely VS Marcel Granollers – This should be a fun match for those who like watching on the outer courts (I think this is the best place to be in the opening days of a tournament).
Joao Sousa VS Bernard Tomic – If Tomic is on his game, he could and maybe should win this match. It is just hard to know what Tomic will bring to the court whereas Sousa is going to dig in and play hard.
Marcos Baghdatis VS Vasek Pospisil – Pospisil has a puncher’s chance, but he lost a bronze medal match in doubles and has less game than the veteran from Cyprus.