Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic among must-see tennis on Thursday

(Photo by Aaron Doster/Getty Images)
(Photo by Aaron Doster/Getty Images) /

We are now into the third round of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. There have been some upsets already, such as Jannik Sinner falling to Dusan Lajovic, Casper Ruud losing to Max Purcell, and Holger Rune being beaten by Mackenzie McDonald. But Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic have pushed through so far. Both are in action on Thursday as well.

Novak Djokovic defeated Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on Wednesday after Davidovich Fokina appeared to hurt his lower back early in the second set. Djokovic said after the match he had mixed emotions about the way he won as he and Davidovich Fokina are friends off the court. The match took only 46 minutes so Novak Djokovic should be fresh for Thursday’s match.

Djokovic won’t have the easiest of matches in round three, however. He will face a resurgent Gael Monfils, and Monfils has been playing really well over the last month. He has beaten number 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas along with Alexander Bublik in the last two weeks alone.

Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz are in action on Thursday in Cincinnati

Carlos Alcaraz hasn’t played since Tuesday when he had a pretty tough time dispatching Jordan Thompson in three sets. Alcaraz hasn’t been playing his best tennis since his Wimbledon win, but he is clearly still capable of beating most people even when he isn’t at his best. That might change Thursday, however.

Alcaraz will face Tommy Paul again on Thursday and Paul just beat Alcaraz last week in Toronto. Paul leads the all-time head-to-head with Alcaraz 2-1 with all three matches being played in the last two years. Will Carlos Alcaraz get revenge or is Tommy Paul simply Alcaraz’s kryptonite?

There are several other potentially great matchups on Thursday at the Western and Southern Open. Three-seed Daniil Medvedev will take on 16th-seed Alexander Zverev, while four-seed Tsitsipas will play the excellent serving Hubert Hurkacz.

On the women’s side, the top five seeds have made it into the third round, and seeds one through five – Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka, Jessica Pegula, Elena Rybakina, and Ons Jabeur – are all playing Thursday. Swiatek looked dominant in her second-round match on Wednesday when she lost just one game in her triumph over Danielle Collins.

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