Djokovic’s Cincinnati Open draw 2023 – his possible path for a third Cincinnati title

The 2023 Cincinnati Open draw was made quite a few days ago now. And now that tennis fans have had a chance to digest certain elements like the top Cincinnati Open seeds, first-round blockbusters, and more, I want to turn the focus to something just as exciting. Of course, I am referencing Novak Djokovic’s return to the USA to compete in the 2023 Western & Southern Open. While the Serbian withdrew from last week’s tournament in Toronto, he is confirmed for the Cincinnati Open, and I am excited to see how he competes this week.

Let’s not forget – Novak Djokovic hasn’t competed on US soil since 2021. After that, we had the well-documented saga of travel restrictions due to the pandemic. At the same time, I’d like to point out that the last time Djokovic played in the US, he experienced something quite magical. While chasing the Calendar Slam against Medvedev in the US Open final of 2021, the crowd was actually on his side. This has almost never happened before, and I’m sure Djokovic is intrigued to see whether it happens again.

Novak Djokovic Cincinnati Open

I say this because the Cincinnati Open will give us a solid indicator of crowd support, Djokovic’s fitness, and most importantly of all – his level of play right now. All of this leads to my intention to look at the Western & Southern Open draw with you today. And my goal is to identify the most likely path that Djokovic will need to travel down if he is to capture the title.

So, ready to roll? Let’s delve into Djokovic’s draw right now.

2023 Cincinnati Open draw for Novak Djokovic – round-by-round breakdown

To remind you quickly of what this tournament entails, I should stress that it’s a Masters 1000 event. In fact, it’s the second of two Masters 1000 events that take place each August in the run-up to the US Open. As for the draw, there are a total of 56 men bidding to take the title this year. Of these 56 guys, 16 of them are seeded, and Novak Djokovic is the number 2 seed this year. 

And now that you have an overview of the Cincinnati Open draw, let’s move on to the main topic of discussion.

Round 1 – Bye

Yes – I had to put this as Djokovic’s first stepping stone en route to the title. Given that he is seeded 2nd, he has a bye to the 2nd round. This removes one extra match that he would need to win to take the title. As a result, Novak Djokovic must win just five matches instead of six – if he was to start in round one that is. 

Round 2 – Davidovich Fokina

Due to the section of his draw, he will face the winner of Davidovich Fokina and Etcheverry in the second round. With that said, I expect that his opponent will be Davidovich Fokina. I say this because the Spaniard played out of his skin last week in the Canadian Open. In fact, he made the semi-finals before losing to Alex de Minaur. 

Round 3 – Cam Norrie

Looking ahead to round three, this is actually one of the toughest opponents to predict for Djokovic. That’s because, while Cam Norrie is the highest seed in this part of the draw, he’s not been playing great. Additionally, this section has Gael Monfils, JJ Wolf, and Alex de Minaur. Yet I’m sticking with the seeding to keep things simple. 

Quarter-finals – Jannik Sinner

Assuming Novak Djokovic makes it through his first two matches, he will likely face the toughest opponent yet – Jannik Sinner. In fact, this is potentially his toughest match of the tournament with the exception of Carlos Alcaraz. After all, Jannik Sinner won the Canadian Open last week, which happened to be his maiden Masters 1000 title. 

Semi-finals – Daniil Medvedev

Gazing ahead to the possible semi-finals, according to the 2023 Cincinnati Open draw, it should be Daniil Medvedev who awaits Djokovic here. As referenced earlier, these guys faced each other in the finals of the 2021 US Open – a match that Medvedev won in straight sets. Then again, the two have played five times since then, and Djokovic has a 4-1 record for those last five matches.

Finals – Carlos Alcaraz

Let’s be honest – this is the game we all want to see. If the seeding goes to plan, it should be Alcaraz vs Djokovic in the Western & Southern Open finals to see who takes the trophy. This would be a repeat of the Wimbledon final, which turned out to be a five-set thriller. And with the US Open right around the corner, this would be an awesome build-up for the final slam of 2023.

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