Rogers Cup is as packed as ever, and with so many storylines still to be written, let’s take a quick tour around both tournaments before the MD kicks off on Monday
Roger Federer decided to skip the event in order to prepare better for Cincinnati and of course the last Grand Slam of the year, The US Open. He played final last year in Toronto, where the Rogers Cup was held, so 600 points are already taken off his account. It doesn’t matter much though, as he has the 2nd place pretty much secured.
World No.1 Novak Djokovic can gain more lead in the rankings as he surprisingly lost to Tsonga in the 3rd round 12 months ago. He plays for the first time since winning Wimbledon and will look to win in Montreal for 3rd time in his career. A rematch with Stan the Man from Roland Garros’ Final may come in the Quarters here but first he needs to take care of eventual 3rd round Dimitrov, who despite in terrible form of late and lack of confidence, can make it an entertaining encounter. Berdych is in the same section of the draw and potentially the highest seed that the Serb can face in R4.
Previously mentioned Stan Wawrinka withdrew from home tournament in Gstaad last month due to shoulder injury that has bothered him since Wimbledon so hopefully he is healed and ready to go.
Milos Raonic is returning to home soil after he lost in Wimbledon’s 3rd round to Nick Kyrgios. Is he a major threat to the field? If he is healthy and his serve is clicking he can go deep, but his section of the draw which includes Karlovic, Isner and Stan surely doesn’t look promising.
Andy Murray who surprisingly lost in the 1st round of Washington last week will look for better fair this time and has the last year’s winner of Rogers Cup Jo Wilfired Tsonga in his part of the draw. US Open Champion Marin Cilic is the highest seed the Brit could face in the 4th round with potentially the winner from Nadal and Nishikori as projected opponent in the Semis.
Rafael won Hamburg and overtook Milos Raonic in the rankings and with 2 absent players he is the 7th seed in the event. Due to injury he didn’t participate last year and can only gain points while trying to improve his ranking just in time for the US Open.
Kei who won ATP 500 in Washington snapping John Isner’s 9 match winning streak comes with plenty of momentum and will be looking to maintain the great form he is currently in. The Japanese player has now won 3 titles this year and his reflexes and angles are looking sharper than ever.
The Top 16 seeds are within the first 18 players of the world with only Federer and Ferrer missing, so you don’t want to miss a second of this action as we will be in for a treat from the start.
The Premier 5 event has a stellar field with only Maria Sharapova missing with the right leg strain she suffered couple of days ago.
Due to the tournament starting at a different time than last year, the defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska’s points are already taken off. She has left the top 10 where Karolina Pliskova will make her debut. 12 months ago in Montreal the Polish player defeated Venus Williams in the final to take home the trophy. To succeed to defend the Rogers Cup she has a tricky road ahead.
She finds herself in the bottom part of the draw with Simona Halep, the 2nd seed of the event taking a WC to be here. The Romanian hasn’t played since 1st round of Wimbledon, in a shocking loss to Jana Cepelova.
Angelique Kerber, the newly crowned Stanford Champion is in the same section that sees players who are in form mixed with some desperately trying to find their rhythm going forward.
Agnieszka could meet Sloane Stephens in the 3rd round. The American just won her maiden title on the Citi Open in Washington where she took care of business beating Anastacia Pavlyuchenkova in the final in under an hour.
Garbine Muguruza, the Wimbledon finalist is on a collision course with Petra Kvitova, with tricky Swiss star Timea Bacsinszky as an early obstacle for the Spaniard.
Possible breathtaking match is on the cards if Azarenka defeats Svitolina in R1, as she will then face Petra in R2. Azarenka who was back in top 20 after last year full of injuries and bad results needs to do better than R4 from last year’s Rogers Cup to go back there.
The top Half of the draw, is lead of course by World No.1 and history making Serena Williams. While everyone seemed to focus on whether she will accomplish the Calendar Grand Slam by winning the US Open, a title here won’t harm the American at all. A rematch from Roland Garros’ Final with Lucie Safarova is on the cards if both players make it to the QF, with Andrea Petkovic as possible spoiler for Serena while Karolina Pliskova, who lost narrowly to Kerber in the final of Stanford can cause a threat to Lucie.
Serena has enjoyed great results in Toronto and played mostly there, not in Montreal, the two cities that alternate as hosts for Rogers Cup on a yearly basis. Going back to 2009 she has a SF and 2 titles (2011, 2013) to her long lists of achievements. The same elbow injury that forced her to withdraw prior to her second match in Bastad a month ago was the reason to skip defending her title in Stanford. If she is healed she will be a big bite for the whole field.
4-th seed Ana Ivanovic and 5-th Caroline Wozniacki are projected for a QF clash, but their roads look more than bumpy. Although they both have bye’s and start the tournament from the 2nd round like all the top 8 seeds, the Danish player will be pushed from the start. Losing in the first round in Stanford to Lepchenko, Caroline admitted she wasn’t feeling 100% and she hoped to get things sorted out in the process of the match and going further. She faces the winner of really interesting R1 clash between Bencic and Bouchard with possible Venus Williams in R3. So if something still bothers her, an early exit won’t be that surprising giving the competition around her.
Ekaterina Makarova, who retired in the Semis in Washington last week citing a right leg injury is in Ivanovic’s part and a possible 3rd round opponent, if of course her injury is not persistent and forces her to withdraw.
56 player Main Draw, 16 seeds all within the top 20, last direct acceptance No.46. Enjoy this week as it’s going to be an emotional and high quality one!
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