Novak Djokovic opens his 2-time Canadian Open title defense Tuesday night in Montreal against German Florian Mayer. Djokovic enters Canada as the world No. 1 but has just one title since Dubai (Monte Carlo) and trails Rafael Nadal in the 2013 points race.
The Serb is 4-0 lifetime against Mayer having never lost a set including a first round win at Wimbledon in June. Mayer was a three-set winner over Bernard Tomic today.
Also tomorrow, Canadian No. 1 Milos Raonic hopes to end his slump against Frenchman Jeremy Chardy. The 22-year-old Raonic finished 2012 ranked No. 13 which is also his current ranking. Raonic won in San Jose but has done little since and the pressure will be on the star to give his home fans something to cheer about this week.
Chardy, a quarterfinalist at the Australian Open, is enjoying his best season to date.
Tommy Haas, John Isner, Gilles Simon and Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz are also scheduled. As is Rafael Nadal who’ll team with Pablo Andujar to face David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez in all-Spanish doubles.
Earlier today, Kei Nishikori dashed the hopes of the locals when he came back to beat Canadian qualifier Peter Polansky 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Denis Istomin kept Janko Tipsarevic in his funk defeating the Serb 6-4, 6-3. Tipsarevic, who’ll likely fall outside the Top 20 with the loss, has just seven wins since Australian and is just 14-16 on the year after finishing 2012 inside the Top 10. And Ernests Gulbis put together an impressive 7-6, 6-4 victory over Feliciano Lopez.
“I’m pleased with my win,” said Gulbis. “It was a tough first set. I couldn’t find my rhythm. I hit four double faults in one game, which was a bit tragic. But I played well on a couple of important points in the tiebreak. It’s difficult to come back on hard courts when you’ve been playing on clay and grass for a while.”
In the women’s competition in Toronto, Sloane Stephens held off fellow 20-year-old Kristina Mladenovic 6-2, 7-6. Stephens, who’s done so well in Slams, finally enjoyed a decent win at the WTA level.
“I just needed to play a lot more,” Stephens said after the win. “I needed to play more sets, just needed to get back into it. I was still in vacation mode and needed to get back to reality. It’s business time again.
“It’s definitely good to get a win here. I’d never played here before, and it’s definitely a totally new atmosphere for me, totally new conditions. But I’m definitely happy to get a win out there tonight.”
Stephens said after injuring her ab at Wimbledon she went to Hawaii to get a break, and so far it’s paid off.
Dominika Cibulkova, Mona Barthel, Flavia Pennetta and Sorana Cirstea were among the other winners on Monday. Tomorrow in Toronto Canadian starlet Genie Bouchard headlines the night session with Agnieszka Radwanska while in the day it’s the return of Venus Williams who faces Wimbledon semifinalist Kirsten Flipkens.
Because of the back injury, the 33-year-old Venus hasn’t played since a first round loss at the French Open.
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