By Benjamin Snyder
CINCINNATI (August 10, 2012) - The men’s main draw for the 2012 Western & Southern Open has been set following the tournament’s official draw party on Friday evening. Seeded No. 1 is the top-ranked Roger Federer, while Novak Djokovic appears on the bottom section of the draw as the No. 2 seed.
With a first round bye for the top eight seeds, Federer will begin his campaign for a fifth Cincinnati title against the winner of Jarko Nieminen and Alex Bogomolov Jr. in the second round. Also appearing in Federer’s section is a match between two of the ATP Tour’s rising stars American Ryan Harrison and Australia’s Bernard Tomic.
The No. 10 seed, Mardy Fish, who lost to Federer in the 2010 Cincinnati final, looms ahead for the 2012 Wimbledon champion. Fish, who advanced to the finals in 2003 against compatriot and friend Andy Roddick, begins his tournament in the first round against the left-handed Feliciano Lopez of Spain, the World No. 29.
The No. 4 seed, David Ferrer, appears in the same quarter as Tomas Berdych, the No. 5 seed, who finished as runner-up to Rafael Nadal in the 2010 Wimbledon final. Last year, Berdych’s Cincinnati tournament ended in the semifinals when he retired against Novak Djokovic after losing the first set 7-5.
James Blake, a wild card into the main event this year, enjoyed his best showing at the Lindner Family Tennis Center when he finished as runner-up to Federer at Cincinnati in 2007. Ranked as high as No. 4 in the world in the past, the American faces the 6’8" Kevin Anderson of South Africa in the first round.
On the other side of the draw, 2011 finalist Novak Djokovic will play the winner of Andreas Seppi of Italy and Robin Haase of the Netherlands in the second round. With four qualifiers in his section of the draw, the first seeded player the five-time Grand Slam winner could potentially face is the No. 13 seed, Alexandr Dolgopolov of the Ukraine.
Dolgopolov comes to Cincinnati in fine form, having claimed the Washington, D.C. title in July. Meanwhile, Djokovic’s compatriot Janko Tipsarevic, the No. 7 seed, is the highest-ranked competition appearing in the No. 2 seeds’ quarter.
Potentially standing in the way of the reigning Australian Open champion for a spot in the finals for the fourth time in five attempts is defending Cincinnati titlist Andy Murray. The London gold medalist and No. 3 seed, Murray has been playing some of his best tennis in the past month. He finished as the Wimbledon runner-up, losing to Federer in four sets.
The Brit appears in the same section of the draw as Americans No. 16 seed Andy Roddick, who won the 2003 Cincinnati tournament, and wild card Sam Querrey, this year’s champion at Los Angeles. The top-ranked American John Isner, who stands at 6’9," also appears in Murray’s quarter and will face Viktor Troicki of Serbia in the first round.
This section features some of the finest veteran talent to be competing at the Lindner Family Tennis Center this year on the men’s side. For instance, former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt faces Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny first, while David Nalbandian, the 2002 Wimbledon runner-up to Hewitt, plays 34-year old Tommy Haas, a winner at Halle earlier this year, in round one.
The winner of that match will take on Olympic bronze medalist and sixth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro, who claimed the US Open title over Federer in 2009, in the second round.