Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova face crucial tests of fitness and form in Cincinnati this week, with the clock ticking down on their hopes of adding to their US Open triumphs.
Federer comes to the tournament as defending champion but with his confidence dented by his shock second-round exit at Wimbledon.
He is battling a back injury which refuses to ease and which caused him to withdraw from the Montreal Masters. With the US Open starting in two weeks’ time, 2011 Cincinnati champion Sharapova is also battling a nagging injury.
In her case, it is a hip problem suffered in her second round loss at Wimbledon, which forced her to sit out the Toronto tournament.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2013.
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