1) Six Americans, led by World No. 20 Sam Querrey and #NextGenATP wild cards Stefan Kozlov and Tommy Paul, take the court for their opening-round matches Monday at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
2) Querrey, the No. 15 seed, begins his bid for a third ATP World Tour title this year and second of the summer hard-court swing when he meets the 19-year-old Kozlov on Center Court Monday afternoon. Last year, Querrey defeated Kozlov in the QF at ‘s-Hertogenbosch on grass in their only previous meeting on the ATP World Tour. This will be Querrey’s 11th appearance in Cincinnati, reaching the QF in 2007 (l. to Blake) for his best performance here, and is 10-10 lifetime. He swept all nine of his matches in Mexico this year, capturing his 9th and 10th career ATP World Tour titles at Acapulco (d. Nadal) and Los Cabos (d. Kokkinakis), respectively. Last week, Querrey lost to Kevin Anderson in the R16 at ATP Masters 1000 Montreal. Kozlov, ranked No. 133 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, is making his main draw debut in Cincinnati after failing to get out of qualifying in 2015-16. He advanced to the R16 at ’s-Hertogenbosch as a wild card (d. Brown, l. to Karlovic) and London/Queen’s Club as a qualifier (d. Johnson, l. to Cilic), but is just 2-8 overall on the ATP World Tour in 2017.
3) American qualifier Christopher Eubanks, coming off a career week in his home city of Atlanta last month, meets Frenchman Gael Monfils for the first time in the featured evening match on Center Court. The 21-year-old Eubanks advanced to the QF in Atlanta (d. Fritz in R32, Donaldson in R16,
l. to Harrison in QF) in his first ATP World Tour event of 2017 and third of his career, all in Atlanta. He reached a career-high No. 348 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on July 31 and is currently ranked No. 374, the lowest-ranked player in the field. Monfils, a quarter-finalist here in 2011 (l. to No. 1 Djokovic), is 10-8 lifetime in Cincinnati. The World No. 21 bounced back from a R32 loss in Washington (l. to 200th-ranked qualifier Bhambri) by reaching the R16 last week at the ATP Masters 1000 Montreal (d. Nishikori in R32, l. to Bautista Agut).
4) A second all-American first-round matchup is slated to kick off action on the Grandstand Court when Donald Young faces Tommy Paul for the first time on the ATP World Tour. Young is bidding for his first match win in four tries at Cincinnati (2008, l. to Monfils; 2010, l. to Gulbis; 2012, l. to Levine). Ranked No. 57 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, Young has dropped three of his last four matches since defeating Tim Smyczek in the 1R at Atlanta (l. to Lacko in R16 at Atlanta; d. Smyczek in 1R, l. to Nishikori in R32 at Washington; l. to Paire in R64 at ATP Masters 1000 Montreal). The 20-year-old Paul is competing in Cincinnati for the first time following back-to-back QF appearances in Atlanta and Washington. He reached his first career ATP World Tour QF in Atlanta (d. Chung in R32, d. Jaziri in R16, l. to Muller in QF) and followed that up by reaching the QF in Washington (d. No. 17 Pouille in R32, No. 21 Muller in R16, l. to No. 9 Nishikori in QF). Paul reached a career-high No. 174 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on August 7.
5) The second afternoon match on the Grandstand Court features Fabio Fognini taking on Daniil Medvedev in a first-time encounter. Fognini advanced to the QF at Cincinnati in 2014 (l. to Raonic) and is 4-6 lifetime. The Italian No. 1 won his fifth ATP World Tour title in Gstaad (d. Hanfmann) last month and followed that with a SF showing in Kitzbuehel (l. to eventual champion Kohlschreiber). Medvedev, making his Cincinnati debut, advanced to the QF in Washington (d. Dimitrov in R16, l. to eventual champion A. Zverev in QF) but fell in the 1R to Adrian Mannarino last week at the ATP Masters 1000 Montreal. The 21-year-old Russian advanced to his 1st ATP World Tour SF and final at Chennai (d. Sela after saving 1 MP, l. to Bautista Agut) in January.
6) The night match on the Grandstand Court features two players who have not faced each other in nine years when Germany’s Mischa Zverev and Spain’s Fernando Verdasco square off in the first round. Verdasco has won all four meetings with Zverev, but the two have not met since the QF at New Haven in 2008, won by Verdasco in straight sets. The 29-year-old Zverev is winless in two previous trips to Cincinnati (2009, l. to Mathieu, R64; 2016, l. to Lopez, R64) but is hoping some of the success of his younger brother rubs off on him after 20-year-old Alexander Zverev defeated Roger Federer on Sunday to win the ATP Masters 1000 Montreal title. The elder Zverev advanced to his 2nd ATP World Tour singles final at Geneva as a qualifier (d. Nishikori, l. to Wawrinka) and earned the biggest win of his career over No. 1 Andy Murray to reach his 1st Grand Slam QF at the Australian Open (l. to Federer). Verdasco has an 8-11 lifetime record in Cincinnati, reaching the R16 in 2008 (l. to Lapentti) and 2011 (l. to Nadal). The Spaniard reached the final in Dubai (l. to Murray) and the SF at Doha (l. to Djokovic) and Bastad (l. to Ferrer).