The Western & Southern Open, to be held August 14-21 in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, is next on the tennis calendar. The combined men’s and women‘s tournament will give players the chance to improve their games and get a few matches under their belt before heading to the US Open later this month.
While the men’s event is part of the ATP Masters 1000 series, the women’s competition is ranked WTA 1000.
All eyes will be on two-time champion Serena Williams as she makes her final appearance in Cincinnati before her impending retirement. The 23-time Grand Slam winner drew defending US Open champion Emma Raducanu in what will be a blockbuster first-round match.
World number one Iga Swiatek, Anett Kontaveit, Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka are some of the other names gathered in a 56-man singles draw.
With plenty of fireworks over the next week in Cincinnati, here’s all the info you need to know about the tournament:
What is the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati?
Launched in 1899 at the Avondale Athletic Club on clay, the Western & Southern Open has become one of the most prestigious tournaments on the tennis calendar. After changing locations several times, the event finally settled in Mason in 1979, when it became a hard-court tournament permanently.
The women’s tournament was not held between 1974 and 1987 before being reinstated for a year in 1988. It was again halted from 1989 to 2003. Since 2004 the women’s event has been held annually.
The men’s and women’s events have been held simultaneously in the same week since 2011, when the name of the tournament was changed to Western & Southern Open.
Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong, Lindsay Davenport, Maria Sharapova, Kim Clijsters, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka are among the players who have won the trophy in the past. Both Serena and Azarenka came out victorious in Cincinnati.
Former world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty is the defending champion, but she announced her retirement earlier this year,
The combined hard-court tournament will be held at the Lindner Family Tennis Center, located in the Cincinnati, Ohio suburb of Mason.
Iga Swiatek, Anett Kontaveit, Paula Badosa, Maria Sakkari, Ons Jabeur, Aryna Sabalenka, Jessica Pegula and Garbine Muguruza are the top eight seeds in women’s singles. Each of them received a bye for the second round.
Since winning her second Grand Slam title at Roland Garros in June, Swiatek has struggled for form. After losing in the Round of 16 in Toronto this week, the Pole will be desperate to bounce back in Cincinnati.
World number 2 Anett Kontaveit is also suffering the long-term effects of a positive COVID-19 test. The Hamburg runner-up didn’t make it past the second round in Toronto and will be hoping to find her groove next week.
Badosa, meanwhile, pulled out of her opener at the Canadian Open because she wasn’t feeling well. It remains to be seen if she has fully recovered ahead of the Western & Southern Open.
Sakkari has lost a hard-fought last 16 in Toronto and will look to deepen the tie this time in Cincinnati.
Of the other four aforementioned seeds, only Pegula has made it past the knockout stage barrier at the current Canadian Open. The American is currently in the last four and will be eager to build momentum from Toronto to her home country.
Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova will also be looking to make their fortunes in Cincinnati after their semifinals in Toronto.
Other players to watch include Elena Rybakina, Venus Williams, Naomi Osaka, Bianca Andreescu, Amanda Anisimova and Beatriz Haddad Maia.
The qualifying rounds will take place on August 13 and 14, with the first round matches starting in the night session on August 14. The quarter-finals, semi-finals and final are scheduled for August 19, 20 and 21, respectively.
The official tournament schedule is available here.
The total prize money for this year’s edition is $2,527,250. The winner will walk away with a cash prize of $412,000 as well as 900 ranking points. Here is a detailed breakdown of prize money and ranking points:
where to watch
Viewers in the US, Australia, UK and Canada can watch the Western & Southern Open live on the following channels and sites:
UNITED STATES: The matches will be broadcast on Tennis Channel and Bally Sports RSN.
UK: Fans in the UK can watch the proceedings live on Amazon Prime Video.
Australia: All matches will be broadcast on be in sports.
Canada: Viewers in Canada can watch all games on TSN.