Nadal returns to tour after injury issues
A lot of players will be looking at the Cincinnati Masters as their last opportunity to warm up for the US Open, which starts in several weeks time. Certainly one player who will have that viewpoint is Rafa Nadal, who hasn't participated in a tournament since he withdrew from Wimbledon around six weeks ago ahead of his semi-final with Nick Kyrgios.
Considering this, perhaps it's only the brave who will be looking at Nadal on the outright market, with the Spaniard currently priced as the 7.06/1 third favourite, marginally bigger than Carlos Alcaraz 6.86/1 and the tournament favourite, Daniil Medvedev 4.67/2.
Medvedev with potential case of Kyrgios deja vu
Conditions in Cincinnati are likely to be slightly on the quick side for hard courts, with the aces per game, service points won percentage and tiebreaks per set figures across recent years all higher than the ATP hard court average - perhaps another reason as to why Nadal might have problems.
Tournament favourite Medvedev is unlikely to have such difficulties in these conditions, being a fan of quicker venues. He will be looking to put his loss to Kyrgios in Montreal last week behind him.
Unfortunately for Medvedev, he might be forgiven for getting a case of deja vu. Kyrgios is again in his bracket - the top quarter of the draw - and with Andrey Rublev and some talented younger players such as Taylor Fritz and Jenson Brooksby also in that section, it won't be a straightforward task for Medvedev to progress to the latter stages even though he's the best player in the field.
Alcaraz favourite to progress in quarter three
Quarter two features Stefanos Tsitsipas and Montreal finalist Hubert Hurkacz as seeds with round one byes, but also has a number of tricky players looking to progress including Matteo Berrettini, Sebastian Korda and the big-serving John Isner, who will typically be tough to break in quick conditions. This looks wide open and I wouldn't be shocked if a non-bye player got through this section of the draw.
I'd expect Carlos Alcaraz, if playing decently, to breeze through quarter three, with the likes of Cameron Norrie and Casper Ruud hoping to derail his chances - albeit in a fairly weak bracket, while quarter four could well feature a non-bye winner also.
De Minaur with chances in wide open final bracket
Bookended by Felix Auger-Aliassime and Nadal, it's far from a foregone conclusion that one of those two will get to the semi-finals from that fourth quarter. Alex De Minaur and Jannik Sinner could be the ones who benefit from that - De Minaur will enjoy quick conditions and had good wins last week over Grigor Dimitrov and Denis Shapovalov in Montreal. The outright market is still forming but if you can get around the 40.039/1 to 50.049/1 available in the general marketplace, that doesn't look like the worst back-to-lay option here.