They’re back! Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and the rest of the top names in tennis return to the courts next week in Montreal for the Tennis Masters Rogers Cup.
The field is deep and lean, although passing up a chance at Canada’s biggest prize are notable absences by Andy Roddick, Robin Soderling and David Ferrer. But that trio wouldn’t have impacted the “trivalry” of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer who’ll likely resume their dominance this summer.
As for the draw, here are some thoughts.
Djokovic got no favors being the top seed. The former champ could face Nikolay Davydenko in his second round opener, then te 16 seed Juan Martin Del Potro in the third round before Gael Monfils in the quarters. Not an easy path but the way Djokovic has been playing it almost doesn’t matter, although a clash with Del Potro on Wednesday would be something to see. Del Potro starts with Nieminen and then likely Marin Cilic! And Monfils will have to deal with Viktor Troicki and John Isner to get out to that quarterfinal with Novak. If Isner gets his serve humming he could be the spoiler.
Federer is located in the second quarter and he could face Juan Ignacio Chela in his second rounder, then a Wimbledon rematch with JW Tsonga followed by Richard Gasquet. Not easy, but not overly difficult. Lurking is Bernard Tomic who could face Tsonga in the second round while Gasquet has what appears to be a clear path to his QF.
I think the bottom half overall is weaker. Andy Murray is the class of the third quarter and I think he comes out beating Mardy Fish in the last eight. Murray might have Kevin Anderson in the second round before a date with the man who beat him at the US Open last year, Stan Wawrinka. The Swiss though has the match of the first round against David Nalbandian.
Rafael Nadal anchors the final and arguably the weakest section, and the Spaniard shouldn’t be troubled. After opening against Chardy of Dodig (somewhat tricky) he’ll have his buddy Fernando Verdasco in the third round then maybe Gilles Simon or Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals. Simon’s probably the most dangerous guy for Nadal in that quarter.
As for a pick, I think come next Saturday we’ll see the top four seeds get through. I think Nadal’s a lock for the semifinals, then I’d say Federer followed by Djokovic (who’ll play Delpo) and Murray who could lose to Fish.
And in those semifinals I’ll take Djokovic to beat Federer and Murray to upset Nadal. In the final I’ll ride the hot guy Djokovic to the title.
Montreal is usually a pretty fast court and the temperatures won’t be as hot as they would be in Cincinnati, so that should help Novak.
If you want some longshots I give Del Potro a real chance against Novak and the Frenchmen could surprise – Gasquet? Montreal is a French speaking city after all. Allez!
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