top 32 men: No. 25-21

Adrian Mannarino

25 Jan-Lennard Struff

The German had an interesting  year, almost winning at Stuttgart on the grass, and before that, on the clay, he reached the final in ATP Masters 1000 Madrid. He was on fire, wining five very good matches in three setters, but finally he lost against the current No. 2, Carlos Alcaraz. He was playing terrific, but he got hurt just before Wimbledon, and he had to pull out. When he came back, he was struggling, yet the 33-year-old certainly added some terrific, new shots. Next year, though, he really wants to win his first title, anytime, anywhere.

24 Sebastian Korda

Of course the American did get hurt this year, so it times, when he comes back, it will take him a while to get comfortable. He does have some terrific rallies, with his hard forehand and his backhand, but there are times when he misses the ball. He is young, so if he manages to stay healthy, then he can crack the top 15 in 2024. But he wants a lot more, just like his dad, Petr, who one once then he won the 1998 Aussie Open. Maybe he can do it, again.

23 Tallon Griepspoor

They are all coming up, or down, depending during the year. The Netherlander won title had in s-Hertogenbosch, on the grass,  and he must have been thrilled, and after that, he reached the final in Washington, before he lost verses Daniel Evans. He was very stable, and his forehand was powerful, yet after that, he did not win enough matches. He did have a decent year, when he is trying to hit harder, and deeper. If he wants to go in the top 20 for the first time, he then has to be much more consistent.

22 Adrian Mannarino

He has been around for a very long time, week after week, country to country. He can be very odd, with his decisions, but when he his playing, the Frenchman can really throw in some  amazing strokes. Yes, he can pretty patient, in the rallies, but also, he has won a few titles, but he never won a huge event. Maybe next time, he will, to go very deep at the Grand Slams. But I doubt that.

21 Francisco Cerundolo

He was pretty slow when he started, and in the first three months, he did not win many matches, but after that, he rose, gradually. The fast player likes on the clay, when he is very consistent, and he also can mix it up. He put together a bunch of good players, such as in Rome,  Lyon, and Roland Garros. He must have been into it, even on the grass, as the Argentine  won Eastbourne.  Just like other players, when they play almost all year, they can get tired. He did, as his forehand and his backhand can be steady, but in the last five months, he did very little. Next year, if he wants to eventually go into the top 10, he has to be enthusiastic when he returns and jump on the ball, more.

The picks at Cincinnati: Friday, August 18

Karolina Muchova

There has been a lot of rain, in Cincinnati, and also, the same thing last week in Canada. It is odd in  August, during the heat. Every year, the players pull out when they are injured, because they played so many matches, on the clay, at Roland Garros, on the grass, at Wimbledon, and now they started to play on the hardcourts. It can be brutal. However, some of the excellent players can control what they are doing, and not play every second. Many of the Slam winners have learned within him or her bodies, just like Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek, for the most part. They are playing this week in Ohio. They can actually win the event. Here are four matches on Friday.

Karolina Muchova  over Marie Bouzkova
Believe it or not,   Swiatek  edged Muchova in Montreal a week ago. It was darn close, so right now, if the excellent doubles player can play wonderfully, the No. 17 can go very deep at the tournament. She did reach into the final at Roland Garros, so when she is healthy, she can beat anyone. The other Czech, Bouzkova, is very decent, and she does have some interesting defense, point to point, but she has yet to be in the top 20. Maybe she will do it, eventually, but not now. Muchova will win it in straight sets, around 6-4, 6-3.

Carlos Alcaraz, over Max Purcell
Alcaraz edged Tommy Paul 6-4 in the third set. He could have lost, as in the second set tiebreaker, he threw so many errors, which is very unusual. But the young Spaniard re- composed, and he was more consistent. When he attacks, he can crush the ball. Purcell is a very good doubles player, but currently, he is trying to hit some bigger shots, in the singles. However, he did have a very good year in the singles, the small ones, so it looks like his forehand and his backhand are stronger. Yet Alcaraz will push him back, into the wall, and he will win it in two sets.

Alexander Zverev over Adrian Mannarino
The German had a terrific match on Thursday when he beat Daniil Medvedev in three, brutal sets. Yes, Zverev can be super  steady, and now he can really mix it up. As he said, “But at the end of the day I did what I had to do. I kind of fought it out and I’m happy to be sitting here as winner.” He can belt it, into the corners, but as he has said, he still is not 100 percent after he became hurt last year. Mannarino plays almost everyday, and he is older, but he just keeps moving on, on the court, consistently. He does like to mix it up, and change it around, but on Friday,  Zverev will be tired, but he will go for it, early. Zverev will win it in three sets, 6-4.

Iga Swiatek over Marketa Vondrousova
Almost once a month, Swiatek  can turn it on, and then she can rush forward, to hit some massive shots. His first serve is very big, and she can return and hit it very deep. Yes, though, she can become frustrated, and over hit, it. Vondrousova is skill full, and she can aggrieve. Her backhand is powerful, and her forehand is improving a lot.  She can upset Swiatek, as long as she can be super consistent, and really go for it, into the corners. However, Swiatek is on fire again, so she will win it in three sets, 6-3.