Rafael Nadal is a Spanish 31-year-old tennis player who occupies the 2nd place in the ATP Rankings
Nadal knows that after this tournament, no matter what happens, he will be back to the ATP Rankings’ top spot, after Roger Federer has withdrawn from this tournament upon injuring himself in the ATP Montreal’s final.
The Spaniard won’t have that added pressure on this tournament, which will be his last before the US Open. Last year Nadal only reached the 3rd round here, after going out.
The Spanish tennis player has been playing really well lately and if it wasn’t for Federer, he would already be number 1 in the ATP. However, the Swiss has beaten him in some finals this season, which postponed Nadal’s return to the top spot.
Last week Nadal played in Montreal but he was surprised in a 3rd set Tie-break by the Canadian youngster Denis Shapovalov. Shapovalov ended up being one of the best players in this tournament and a huge surprise, since he reached the semi-finals.
Richard Gasquet: This French tennis player is 31 years old and is currently placed 29th in the ATP Rankings.
Gasquet is a talented player, with a big one-handed backhand and well executed strokes technically but over the course of his career he failed in some key moments, and he never quite reached his full potential.
He was expected to win several Grand Slams or even to be Roger Federer’s successor, but that didn’t end up happening.
Gasquet is clearly an interesting tennis player. On a good day, he can beat anyone, but this year, with some injuries and variations, he hasn’t had the best of seasons. Here in Cincinnati he started off winning against John Patrick Smith in straight sets, 6-4 6-4.
Last season he reached the 2nd round here, so the points are already defended.
Rafael Nadal vs Richard Gasquet Pick:
Rafael Nadal has clear advantage and an edge over Richard Gasquet and in this match, I expect more of the same. Normally Nadal beats Gasquet with relative ease, and the French player doesn’t win a set against the “Bull” since 2008.
That is 9 matches in a row without stealing a set from Nadal.
I see the Spaniard going strong into this tournament, since he is playing without the pressure to reach world number 1, because he knows that will happen next week no matter what.
II don’t see Gasquet with enough strength and vigor to beat Nadal, especially since he arrives here with injured pride after having lost to Shapovalov in 3 sets last week.
Nadal to win in straight sets is my choice here.