If you've been paying attention to tennis lately the news has often been about a key player pulling out of a tournament. At the risk of writing a run-on sentence, heading into Wednesday's action at the 2017 Cincinnati Masters all of the following players are absent from the draw already: Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Marin Cilic, Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and David Goffin.

The reasons vary from player to player. With Federer and Raonic, it's short-term injury to blame. With Djokovic and Wawrinka it's long-term injury. With Monfils, it's illness while Tsonga and Goffin have already lost matches at the Western & Southern Open.

With all that talent on the sidelines, a fringe player or two was bound to pick up a career opportunity and that has happened.

Khachanov favored to make the quarters

One of the following players will make at least the quarterfinals in Cincinnati: Yuichi Sugita, Joao Sousa, Karen Khachanov, or Thomas Fabbiano. That quartet shares a section of the draw in the round of 32. If you were to pick a player to survive those four players then it would be Khachanov, currently ranked 32nd in the world.

He was in the French Open fourth round through Tomas Berdych back in late spring. In a section of the Cincinnati draw where Jack Sock lost in the first round and Roger Federer pulled out pre-tournament, the young Russian can hope for a breakthrough in Ohio. It's possible that Khachanov could end up in the quarters against a player that isn't too dominant.

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That's a big change on the ATP's tennis landscape, one that extends directly from all the injuries that have plagued the top players of late.

Another section of the draw has Nikoloz Basilashvili, one 'Ramkumar Ramanathan,' one 'Christian Harrison,' and Jared Donaldson left alive and in tact. The latter is ranked 60th, good enough for a draw-by-ranking to the quarters of a Masters Series event these days.

Skepticism of Zverev

When it comes to late-round star power in Cincinnati tennis fans should be aware that Alexander Zverev isn't Superman. He played five matches in Washington two weeks ago and he played five more in Montreal last week. That's ten matches in a short time period while a lot of the players in the Cincinnati draw were resting. Zverev will probably lose a match soon to a lower-ranked player just due to relative fatigue.

On the plus side, he is only 20 and Zverev did well to win many of his recent matches in straight sets and without tiebreakers so maybe he will have something in the tank this week.

However, you can watch tennis for years and years before you see a player win three straight tournaments in three straight weeks. Players do win three tournaments in a row at times but winning three straight without taking a week off in between any of the events is an absolute rarity in tennis. It's bound to have happened but, to be honest, nothing comes to mind for tour-level events.

Low-profile final coming up?

There actually could be a forthcoming catastrophe in Cincinnati for ratings. If Zverev hits a brick wall for fatigue then out goes the young gun that everyone will be wanting to see play. Rafael Nadal is in the draw, but since winning the French Open he has lost to Gilles Muller and Denis Shapovalov. If Nadal suffers an upset then all of a sudden can't-win-anything-on-cement Dominic Thiem becomes the one-eyed man in the land of the blind. That's especially true since Grigor Dimitrov is ice cold and Juan Martin del Potro is nowhere near his summer-of-2016 form.

Nick Kyrgios is still in the draw, but who knows when the devil on his shoulder is going to start telling him bad things. The winner of the Adrian Mannarino/Sam Querrey round-of-32 match actually looks like he will be a big force in the tournament, given how well those two players have played lately. David Ferrer is still in the draw and he is a recent titlist on tour, but only on clay (he won Bastad in July). It's strange to see Janko Tipsarevic as a major name in a draw again after all he's gone through just to get back into the top 70. However if Tipsy beats Ferrer in the round of 32 then the Serb could start thinking about being relevant again.

But in the end, tennis fans better watch out for Khachanov and John Isner in Cincinnati. They are both giants, they both entered Cincinnati well rested, and both are in good form. That is especially the case with Isner who won both Newport and Atlanta before withdrawing from Washington. Isner is also already in the round of sixteen as he started the tournament on Sunday, a day ahead of the rest of the field. Isner and Zverev could meet on Thursday if the German wins his round-of-32 match. That match up could put the German to the test if it takes place, simply because it would be his 12th match in just over two weeks. Isner is having an amazing summer on the American courts and the Cincinnati final may very well be beckoning.