Former US Open champion Andy Murray and 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer will start their Cincinnati Masters campaign in the second round in Mason on Wednesday.
Cincinnati is the final tune-up event before the final major of the year and Murray will be looking to make the most of it, after suffering a quarterfinal exit from the Rogers Cup last week. Murray was beaten in the Toronto Masters in a three-set thriller by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
This is not just Murray's only chance of getting some useful practice ahead of the US Open but also to secure eighth seed for the forthcoming major. The Scotsman has dropped in the rankings because of his inconsistent showing this season, and a long-term back injury, and is now fighting with Grigor Dimitrov to be ranked eighth.
The current world number nine climbed to fifth place in the rankings after his semifinal appearance in the French Open. But, he failed to defend his Wimbledon crown and was defeated by Dimitrov in the quarterfinals.
"I messed up a lot of matches this year," Murray said. "First week of the year I was up a set and a break and I lost [to Florian Mayer in Doha]. I was up a break in the third set against [Milos] Raonic in Indian Wells and I lost.
"I was up a break against Rafa in the third set [in Rome] and I lost," he added. "I was 6-2 up in the tiebreak against [Radek] Stepanek in Queens and lost.
"Last week I was 3-0 up in the third against [Jo-Wilfried Tsonga] and I lost. My year could have looked totally different if I had finished those matches off, to be honest with you. So I need to stop messing up when I am ahead."
Murray's first opponent in Mason is Portugal's Joao Sousa, who is yet to beat the number one Brit in the ATP circuit. The two-time major winner has won both his previous clashes against Sousa, including their most recent meeting in Mexico.
Meanwhile, Federer will commence his Cincinnati Masters journey against Vasek Pospisil in the second round. The Swiss maestro is just one win shy of 300 ATP Masters level wins and he is expected to achieve the feat against Pospisil.
Federer has won both of his previous clashes against the Canadian and will head into the match as the clear favourite. But the Swiss is not taking his opponent lightly and insisted that he is taking it one match at a time.
"Because I've played last week, I'm just hoping to get through the first round just because I know how hard it is to transition with sort of a day-and-a-half of practice and then having to play a difficult best-of-three set match," said Federer.
"Of course if I do win that first round, I have higher hopes to going really deep into the tournament and even winning it."
Schedule of Play
Andy Murray vs Joao Sousa starts 8:30 pm IST
Roger Federer vs Vasek Pospisil starts 12:30 am IST
Where to Watch Live
The day's action is scheduled for an 8:00 pm IST (10:30 am ET, 3:30 pm BST and 2:30 pm GMT) start with live coverage on Ten Sports in India. Cincinnati Masters will also be streamed live HERE and HERE or catch the live updates HERE. ESPN 2 will telecast the matches live in the United States with an online streaming option HERE. In South Africa and sub-Sahara region the tournament will be available live on Super Sport with live online viewing option HERE.