Aug 19, 2022
Tournament Previews

Tennis Fan's (and bettor's) Cincinnati Open Guide


am no expert when it comes to tournament travel, having only experienced the US Open a few times, Indian Wells, ATP Newport (my current favorite), Citi Open, and a dozen Challenger events. But a trip to Cincinnati for the Western & Southern Open is totally worth your time and money.

From the tournament's proximity to the airport, overall cost (it has to be the most affordable Masters 1000 destination), fan-friendliness, and overall quality of tennis, Cincy is tough to beat. There is even a tournament drink that can compete with the Honeyduece for a set or two. If you prefer tequila to Vodka there is some serious upset potential. But let’s be real, nothing compares the sheer drinkability of a Duecer. 

@MaestroDobelTequila please pay me 500 grand.

Let’s start with the negatives, but only because there are so few. 


Bring your umbrella, ice-towel, whatever you have to do to keep cool. The weather this week was delightful, yet Cincy leads the tour in fans passing out in stands. There is no shade. 

Second, and unfortunately most importantly, Cincinnati marks the end of a grueling summer of hardcourt tennis. Tennis on concrete is legitimately terrible for your body. I lost a cheap used car in mid-match retirements this week. Looking at you, Miomir, you gigantic f***** *****. Know that every bet you place on a Cincinnati match is a little too close to the US Open for comfort, and players have no problem pulling the ripcord.

If you plan to attend the tournament and place a wager or two, have fun. If you’re like me and plan to place two hundred or so, there is a simple playbook you should follow. First and foremost, attend both days of qualifying. Not only is the qualifying significantly cheaper, the field at Masters qualifying is equivalent to a stacked 250 or weak 500. The tennis is phenomenal, and it is so important to get a grip on which qualifiers are healthy, in-form, and hungry. Identifying the dangerous qualifiers is a proven method for success when betting opening-rounds. It’s rare you’ll find a qualifier that opens as a decent favorite, unless it’s the incredible Marie Bouzkova, and maybe a few others. 

Do your best to watch every player, but perhaps more importantly, watch matches at every court. No two courts play the exact same. Differences in sunlight, wind, surface speed, depth perception and many others all play a factor. 

Example: Stadium 3 is mostly shielded from wind at ground level, BUT when the ball elevates, the wind can certainly grab it. Cam Norrie was playing Holger Rune with the wind at his back, tried to hit his routine lofty lefty forehand, and sailed about 8 consecutive forehands long, ultimately costing him the set. 

By the time you read this, most outer courts will not be in-use, so put this in your back-pocket for next year. First things first, every court here plays pretty damn fast. Some play faster than others, but it’s all super-quick. The men use Wilson US Open balls, arguably the gold standard of tennis balls, and the women use lighter Wilson balls. Iga Swiatek is not a fan of using different balls each tournament, and she’s absolutely right, but it’s another great angle for betting. Let’s break down each court and how they play. 

Court 10 is an incredible court. It’s dug into the ground, intimate, and EXTREMELY tight. In terms of distance from baseline to back fence, and doubles-alley to side-wall, I have to think it’s the smallest court that most of these pros will ever play on. If I was a player and had to play John Isner on this court I would object. You would have no choice but to take his kick-serve on-the-rise (which is impossible), or he would ace you every single time. Baseline-hugger Emil Ruusuvuori was impressive on this court in his demolition of fan-favorite JJ Wolf. He did not care that there is no room to defend.

Court 10 offers shockingly little room from baseline to back fence

Grandstand court is built into the backside of Stadium 1. It’s quite a large court with plenty of room to roam. Due to it’s proximity to Stadium, as well as only one entry point, this stadium does not fill up quite like the others. Tiafoe vs. Korda garnered a pretty solid crowd, but it’s rare this court will fill up entirely. What makes this court great is that you can practically sit anywhere, and some of the most marquee names are assigned to play here. There aren’t many courts in the world with this type of pure viewing quality, and due to the large backdrop, might have more shade than any other court. 

Grandstand is less accessible, but not to be missed.

Court 11 is by far my favorite court. It’s right next to the practice bank, so there is a ton of standing room. There is also a building you can stand in the shade and watch most of the court from. Being on court level, five feet away from a level of sport this high, is fucking cool. You’re able to immerse yourself in the match. You see the angles and spins, you hear the self-chatter and strategizing. It’s unfortunate that no “big” names play on this court, but that’s part of what makes it special. If the general public knew who Chun-Tsin Tseng and Pedro Martinez were, you wouldn’t be able to get so close. What's even more amazing is that court 11 is the only one I didn't take a picture of.

The standalone Court 4 on the edge of the complex is great, but bring your umbrella. There is absolutely no shade anywhere, and the only seating options are metal bleachers. This might be the hottest court in the complex. To me, it also played the quickest. Perhaps that’s because of the extreme temperature, but a flat strike would skid on this court far more than any other court. Marcos Giron’s forehand caused serious problems for David Goffin here. Goffin struggled to time a ball that was skidding like crazy on every shot. 

Court 4 is very hot and very fast

In summation, if money is tight, but you want to see the best tennis in the world, Cincinnati is a must. Last but not least, shameless plugs. If you click the Bet.US graphic above, they will offer a 125% deposit bonus. If you click and sign up for my daily plays and USE the deposit bonus, I promise a winning record during the US Open or your money back. No joke.