In his first outing of the North American hard-court swing for 2021, newly minted Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Alexander Zverev begins his Western & Southern Open campaign on Tuesday against South African Lloyd Harris. A winner of four ATP Masters 1000 titles, the German is keen to build on his recent success in Japan as he targets further big titles.

Harris, No. 46 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, scored the biggest win of his career against top seed Rafael Nadal en route to the quarter-finals in Washington, D.C. earlier this month and reached the Round of 16 in Toronto last week. In a showdown between 24-year-olds, third seed Zverev claimed their only prior ATP Head2Head meeting indoors in Cologne last year.

“I’m past the stage of learning. I’m 24 years old now. I’m not at a stage where I’m learning how to play tennis anymore,” Zverev said ahead of his campaign. “Yes, I’m learning every day on different experiences and different situations…

“But I think a lot of guys now are at the stage where we’re trying to compete for the biggest titles of the world, and I feel like if you look at the Masters winners this year, we had a different Masters winner every single tournament. So I think there is a lot of guys that are hungry for more right now.”

Fifth seed Matteo Berrettini makes his return to the ATP Tour following his run to a maiden Grand Slam final at Wimbledon last month, when he defeated the likes of Felix Aguer-Aliassime and Hubert Hurkacz before falling to Novak Djokovic. The Italian opted to skip the Tokyo Olympics due to a thigh injury he developed on his run to the final at the All England Club.

The 25-year-old takes on World No. 49 Albert Ramos-Vinolas for the first time. The Spaniard scored a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory over American Taylor Fritz to book his place in the second round in Cincinnati.

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Sixth seed Denis Shapovalov will be out to cast aside the disappointment of a first-up defeat on home soil in Toronto last week to Frances Tiafoe as he faces Frenchman Benoit Paire for a place in the Round of 16. Shapovalov made the semi-finals at Queen’s before his first Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon last month.

Paire will be looking to improve on an 8-22 win-loss record this season but comes off a three-set victory over Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in the opening round. He boasts a 2-1 ATP Head2Head record over the Canadian.



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