By Benjamin Snyder
With the men’s and women’s qualifying events slated to finish on Sunday, the main draw event for the men will begin with Americans James Blake and Ryan Harrison kicking off the event in the evening.
The wild card Blake, a former World No. 4 and a semifinalist at Cincinnati in 2007, faces Kevin Anderson in the first round, which is set to start on Center Court after 7:00PM. Now ranked No. 106 in the world, Blake is a 10-time Tour titlist and claimed his last in 2007 at New Haven. The American comes into this tournament with a quarterfinal showing at Washington, his best result on Tour this year.
His opponent under the lights at the Lindner Family Tennis Center, Anderson of South Africa, is ranked No. 32. Standing at 6’8", Anderson won his second career Tour title at Delray Beach earlier this year.
While veteran Blake takes center stage in prime time at the Western & Southern Open on Sunday night, the rising star and London Olympian Harrison, 20, will also be in action earlier in the evening. With his opponent Australian Bernard Tomic at age 19, the showdown will be one of the youngest men’s matches to be completed over the course of the tournament this year.
Harrison, whose younger brother Christian competed and lost in the opening round of the qualifying event on Saturday, is currently ranked No. 59 in the world. Earlier this summer, the Lousiana-native advanced to the semifinals at Newport. There, he lost to top-ranked American John Isner, who was forced to pull out of Cincinnati this year due to a back injury.
Tomic, ranked No. 49, also competed in the Olympics at the All England Club. The Australian’s best results this year came in January when he made it to the semifinals at Brisbane and advanced to the round of 16 at the Australian Open.
Another Olympian in action on Sunday is mixed doubles silver medalist Laura Robson, who played with singles gold medalist Andy Murray. Robson will face Urszula Radwanska, the younger sister of Wimbledon runner-up and women’s Cincinnati top seed Agnieszka, for a spot in the main draw. Along with her success at the All England Club, Robson, 18, advanced to the semifinals of the clay court event at Palermo.
In other news for the women’s event at the Western & Southern Open this year, Sabine Lisicki, an Olympian for Germany, was forced to retire from her main draw match due to an abdominal injury.