MASON, Ohio – The 20-year-old from Germany who knocked off Roger Federer Sunday could replace the seven-time Western & Southern Open champion in the tournament spotlight this week.
Federer’s withdrawal Monday means the injury-depleted W&S Open has lost its biggest attraction along with six of the world’s Top 10 men’s players due to injury.
That opens the door for Alexander Zverev, who beat Federer in the Montreal final Sunday, to challenge top-seeded Rafael Nadal for the title here.
Zverev, ranked 12th when the seeds were set July 3, jumped to No. 7 with his fifth tournament win of the year and is the highest ranked player here except for No. 2 Nadal, the 2013 W&S Open champion. Nadal is now guaranteed to return to No. 1 when the new ATP rankings are released on Monday.
— Shannon Russell (@slrussell) August 14, 2017
Other Top 10 players still in the men's field are No. 8 Dominic Thiem of Austria and No. 10 Milos Raonic of Canada. No. 9 Kei Nishikori of Japan withdrew due to a right wrist injury.
Federer, the crowd favorite here and No. 2 seed, announced Monday that he would be unable to play because of a back injury.
"I am very sorry to pull out of the Western & Southern Open as I always enjoy playing here," Federer said. "Cincinnati has some of the best fans in the world and I am sorry I will miss them. Unfortunately, I tweaked my back in Montreal and I need to rest this week."
Federer, ranked No. 3 after winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon champion this year, said he was dealing with muscle pain after Sunday's loss to Zverev.
Also missing from the W&S Open are two-time winner and current No. 1 Andy Murray, No. 4 Stan Wawrinka, five-time finalist and No. 5 Novak Djokovic, and No. 6 Marin Cilic, last year's champion.
The women’s field, minus expectant mother Serena Williams, recently lost Victoria Azarenka, the 2013 W&S Open champion, because of a nasty custody battle over her 8-month-old son. Maria Sharapova arrived Friday but withdrew because of a left forearm injury.
Defending champion and No. 1 Karolina Pliskova, No. 3 Angelique Kerber and No. 9 Venus Williams are among 39 of the WTA's 43 highest-ranked players in the women's draw.
The main draw opened Monday and continues through Sunday at the Lindner Family Tennis Center.
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