In what is the final opportunity to fine-tune their game before the US Open, the ATP Tour players head to North Carolina to compete in the Winston-Salem Open.
The leading lights, most of which were in action in Cincinnati last week, won’t be contesting the Tour 250 event and that means world number 16 Borna Coric is the highest-ranked player involved.
Other top-30 performers in action include dynamic Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor and athletic American Sebastian Korda, who heads the betting at 8/1.
Jack Draper carries the British hopes while impressive youngsters Jiri Lehecka, Arthur Fils and Emil Ruusuvuori are others chasing some silverware in the absence of the big boys.
Borna Coric each-way @ 10/1
Coric could be the class act in the field
This time last season, Coric was claiming the biggest prize of his career in Cincinnati, where he won his maiden Masters 1000 Crown.
That title triumph saw him overcome Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final, having earlier gotten the better of Cameron Norrie, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Rafael Nadal.
That highlights what he is capable of and suggests the top seed, who receives a first-round bye, should be a cut above this opposition if putting his best foot forward.
Coric did show plenty of promise in his title defence in Cincinnati last week.
The Croatian defeated Korda, favourite for this event, 7-6 6-4 in the opening round and then pushed the classy Hubert Hurkacz to three sets in the last 32.
Given Hurkacz went on to make the semi-final, taking world number one Carlos Alcaraz to a final-set decider, that form looks strong and makes Coric a leading contender.
These conditions play to the Croatian’s strengths and, having also been a US Open quarter-finalist in 2020, he evidently goes well at this time of year.
Jiri Lehecka each-way @ 18/1
If Coric fails to deliver then rising star Jiri Lehecka looks one of the players most likely to capitalise.
At only 21 years of age, Lehecka is a player of immense potential and it shouldn’t be long until he is rising the rankings and competing for the biggest prizes of them all.
The Czech star is already at world number 33 and made his first Grand Slam quarter-final at the Australian Open earlier this year.
A reproduction of that form would make him a serious contender for glory in Winston-Salem and there has been enough in his recent efforts to suggest he could thrive now dropped in class.
Lehecka was beaten 7-6 6-4 by world number seven Casper Ruud in the Canadian Open and then lost 7-6 6-4 against world number 10 Taylor Fritz in his most recent appearance at the Cincinnati Masters.
However, he won’t face anyone of the calibre of those two opponents, making him a tasty price at 18/1.