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Stars align for W&S Open

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Serena Williams is set to play in Western & Southern Open. Photo by Michael Mitchell

By Mark Brown

Cincinnati Herald Contributor  

If you are a tennis buff there can be no better month than August to thank your lucky stars you live in the greater Cincinnati area–where the Western & Southern Open is set to satisfy your crave for viewing the best that tennis has to offer.

Beginning August 11 to 19, the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) combine with the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) to bring the world’s top 39 women, and the top 44 men to the grounds of the Lindner Tennis Center located in Mason, Ohio—as part of the 2018 annual W&S Open.

Fresh off the grass courts at Wimbledon, the world’s best will now transfer their skill-sets to the hard-court of the W&S Open, as they make preparations for the final grand slam tournament of the season—the U.S. Open, which takes place in New York (August 27 to September 9).

Familiar single name stars like Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic will headline the men’s side along with Halep, Stephens, Kerber, and Serena for the women. 2017 W&S Open men’s champion Grigor Dimitrov and women’s champion Garbine Muguruza are expected to defend their titles as well. WTA

Last year it was Muguruza’s, a two- time grand slam champion, who blistered through the women’s field to win her first ever W&S Open championship– by defeating Simona Halep in straight sets. The world’s number one player, Halep, along with 2018 Wimbledon champion, Angelique Kerber, and 2017 U.S. Open champion, Sloane Stephens, are just a few of the elite WTA players scheduled to compete.

And perhaps the best women’s tennis player ever, Serena Williams, will make her return appearance, after missing the tournament last year. And make no mistake Williams is intent on returning to the top of her game– evident by her stunning run to the Wimbledon finals–after having her first child less than a year ago. Although she did lose to Kerber, she was highly praised for being able to compete at such a high level with such short preparation. Williams is a two-time winner of the W&S Open (2014, 2015).

Other notable players scheduled to compete are Caroline Wozniacki, Madison Keys, 2016 W&S Open champion Karolina Pliskova, 2011 W&S Open champion Maria Sharapova, and Venus Williams. ATP

Seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov made a somewhat surprising run to the W&S Open men’s championship last season—by defeating hard serving Nick Kyrgios in the finals. Dimitrov will once again return to this year’s tournament as part of a strong field that will vie for the men’s title.

Among those Dimitrov will have to fend-off are top seeds Rafael Nadal and seven-time W&S Open champion Roger Federer. Also certain to make a run at this year’s title is a strong and healthy Novak Djokovic—who convincingly captured the 2018 Wimbledon title upon making his return to tennis after taking some personal time off.

Other featured players on the men’s side include 2016 W&S Open champion Marin Cilic, 2018 Wimbledon runner-up Kevin Anderson, 2017 W&S Open runner-up Kyrgios, and American’s John Isner and Jack Sock.

Listed as one of the premiere tennis tournaments in this part of country, the W&S Open is a virtual preview of the U.S. Open, offering great tennis, local cuisine and entertainment for all ages. For more information on the 2018 W&S Open visit www.wsopen.com.

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