With defending champion Rafael Nadal out of action due to a sudden bum wrist, the only real drama with the Toronto draw would be where 2-time tournament champion Andy Murray landed – not that he’s such a huge threat these days anyway, right? Well, Murray ended up in the quarter with top seed Novak Djokovic.
The Serb, if he gets by Murray, is projected to meet either Grigor Dimitrov or Stan Wawrinka in the semifinals.
Staying in the top half, Djokovic opens with either Radek Stepanek or Gael Monfils. Then potentially JW Tsonga before Murray. With the Canadian courts customarily quick, it’s not a great draw but certainly one Novak can navigate especially given Murray’s decline.
In the second quarter, maybe Kevin Anderson can make some noise. Maybe Kei Nishikori. Otherwise it’s looking like a Stan-Grigor quarter. But it’s hard to say and tough to make anyone the outright favorite in that section.
In the bottom half is where we find the trees (the tall guys) and Mr. Roger Federer. The Swiss is staring down a treacherous path of potentially Jerzy Janowicz, then Marin Cilic, then John Isner before either 2013 finalist and Canadian hero Milos Raonic or Tomas Berdych. So there’s a lot of power and height in the bottom of the draw. David Ferrer’s in there also but the Spaniard has been dealing with an elbow injury so I wouldn’t put too much stock in him next week, though I’d like to see him square up against Isner in the third.
For most of the top guys this is their first appearance on hardcourts since Miami.
Now that Nadal is out the next two weeks, I think Djokovic should be at ease knowing his main rival won’t be around. Federer should be feeling good and I think he’ll go as far as his serve (and service return!) will take him.
The 10th-ranked Murray is anyone’s guess. He plays his best during the summer months so after a forgettable first half maybe he can get back on track, raise his ranking and start playing top level tennis again. Or maybe not. Australian Open champ Wawrinka is another top guy who could shoot to the moon or just fall flat.
And let’s see about these young guys: Raonic, Nishikori, Dominic Thiem (in the Kiztbuhel final tomorrow), Vasek Pospisil (Canadian plays Gasquet in his opener), Nick Kygrios (good draw against Santi Giraldo), Jack Sock (drew Melzer to play Raonic) and Dimitrov who could face Nishikori in a sizzling second match.
So while it’s a letdown not to have Nadal or Juan Martin Del Potro to start the summer (let’s hope one of the two plays the US Open), it’s a good, balanced draw.
As for an early pick, I’ll go Djokovic over Raonic in the final. With a strong summer and Nadal’s injury, Novak can all but wrap up No. 1 in New York so he won’t want to let this opportunity slip by. He’s also won the event three times and has dominated the Masters events of late. And I just like Raonic’s draw, even more if he doesn’t have to deal with Federer in the semis.
Djokovic v Murray
Wawrinka v Dimitrov
Raonic v Berdych
Ferrer v Federer
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