History will be made Friday at the Montreal Masters Rogers as for the first time ever the Top 8 ranked players will all be competing in the quarterfinals at an event – ATP or Slam! That’s pretty good!
And naturally if you have the all Top 8 players you are going to get some popcorn matches, and that we have with Roger Federer v. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Andy Roddick v. Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin Del Potro v. Rafael Nadal.
First though at 1pm it’s Andy Murray and Nikolay Dayvdenko. Remember Murray can get the No. 2 ranking if he reaches the final and Nadal loses, so there’s a little more riding on the line for the Briton in this match. But Murray’s probably playing the best of any of the remaining eight and I like him to beat Davydenko. Although, Dayvdenko I think comes in on a 12-match win streak or so I think and he’s even, 4-4, head-to-head with Murray. Still, in a tough match I’ll take Murray in three.
I didn’t see Federer’s win today over his countryman Stanislas Wawrinka, but his result today is must more impressive then his victory Tuesday night over a 33-year-old Canadian named Freddy. Tsonga also played better today ousting a countryman of his own, Gilles Simon. But in this case I think Tsonga’s power feeds into Federer, and even though Fed’s probably not in full flight yet, he’ll win in straight sets.
For lucky ticket holders, the night session is where the real action is. The main course is Roddick v. Djokovic. These two have played twice on hardcourts already this year at the Australian Open when Novak retired and against at Indian Wells when Novak got steamrolled.
Djokovic did beat Roddick in Montreal a few years ago in this same round when he picked up the title and again at the US Open quarterfinals last year under the lights. This is an absolutely huge match for both players. For Roddick, a win really puts him ahead of Novak on the pecking order in tennis. For Djokovic, he hasn’t had any kind of a big win in months, and a victory would do him a world of good with the US Open just around the corner.
Head-to-head, Roddick leads 3-2 but really there’s not much to choose. Roddick’s playing well, Novak’s had a great history in Montreal. I picked Novak at the start of the week so I’m sticking to it. Novak in three.
And after all that tennis if you are still hungry for dessert there’s DelPo and Rafa in the nightcap. Having only played a 2.5 sets Nadal’s really an unknown quantity. However, DelPo is not! The Argentine is again tearing up the hardcourts and he has to be liking his chances especially since he beat Rafa in their last meeting in Miami in a third set tiebreak.
All things being equal, Rafa wins this match. But it’s not. Nadal just hasn’t played enough while DelPo’s in form. This match is DelPo’s to win or lose and I think he scratches it out.
Now if that men’s schedule is still leaving you unsatisfied, there’s a great match tomorrow afternoon in Cincinnati where Kim Clijsters continues her remarkable comeback road against World No. 1 Dinara Safina! Yes!!
As I speculated a few days ago, Dinara may be better served by just not showing up for this one rather than playing because I just don’t know how she’ll handle the pressure, the nerves and the very real embarrassment of becoming the first world No. 1 to lose to an unranked player! (Has that ever happened, men or women?)
And did I mention keeping your nerves? Well, Marion Bartoli certainly couldn’t keep ‘em, Patty Schnyder never had a chance and of course Sveta crumbled on cue today. Now it’s Safina’s turn. And as a standing World No. 1 ranked player, for the good of the WTA and the integrity of her sport, she cannot lose to Clijsters. She just can’t lose that match. I’m sure Kim is playing great and credit to her for getting this far, but Safina’s an excellent hardcourt player and as a No. 1 you cannot lose to someone who is unranked and who is playing her first tournament in over two years. Talk about pressure, it’s all on the Russian. Coach Zjelko, get ready.
However, if Dinara does play and she wins, it may just give her that extra boost for the US Open. We’ll see. Regardless, quite a historic day of tennis. Enjoy.
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