09.17/Cincy tennis 2017

Featured for September: Watching tennis with a camera

Each August I spend a few days watching and photographing the world’s best tennis players competing in the Western & Southern Open Tennis Tournament in Mason, Ohio, north of Cincinnati. And each September I use the new photos as my featured gallery.

The Western & Southern Open is about as close to a Grand Slam tennis tournament as an event can get. It's one of only nine tournaments in the world where the top men and women play simultaneously at the same site: the four majors (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open), and combined ATP Masters 1000 and WTA Premier events in Rome, Madrid, Miami and Indian Wells, Calif., along with Cincinnati.

The Cincy tournament is two weeks before the U.S. Open, the final Grand Slam of the year, so top players from the ATP and WTA flock to Cincinnati to hone their games for New York. But this year many of the world’s top players were sidelined when the tournament began. Seven of the world’s top 10 men were out with injuries: Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Marin Cilic and Milos Raonic all withdrew from the event with injury (Federer withdrew with back problems after the tournament began but before the day of his match); Novak Djokovic, Kei Nishikori and Stan Wawrinka have announced they will not play again this season because of injury. On the women’s side, top player Serena Williams is on maternity leave. Having the top player on the circuit out has left a huge void that none of the others on tour have been able to fill.

This year I attended day-session matches the first three days of the tournament and saw most of the players in action. And there were some good story lines. David Ferrer, the 37-year-old Spaniard, continued what seems to be a career rebirth for the aggressive, undersized player by reaching the semifinals. Young Americans Jared Donaldson and Frances Tiafoe each advanced through the first two rounds of the tournament.

The women’s title was won by Spaniard Garbiñe Muguruza, the Wimbledon champion who rolled past Simona Halep from Romania in the finals. Muguruza was ranked sixth in the world entering the tournament. Halep was ranked second and would have moved to number one with a win in the finals. It was the third time this year that Halep lost when a victory would move her to the top spot in the WTA rankings.

Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria won the men’s title in straight sets over Nick Kyrgios of Australia. Dimitrov entered the tournament ranked 11th in the ATP world rankings and will move into the top 10 entering the U.S. Open. It was his first title in an ATP Masters 1000 event.

It’s a great tournament and a fun place to have a camera.

I add a new featured gallery the first of each month. The numbers in the gallery title represent the month and year it was featured. Last month’s featured gallery, with photos of baby birds, has been moved to my featured gallery archives.

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