ATP Toronto Masters (Rogers Cup) 2014 Draw Preview and Analysis

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Novak Djokovic

 

The North American hard court swing is in full force now and continues with the first of back-to-back Masters 1000 events, the first of which is the Rogers Cup in Toronto. The Canadian event rotates between there and Montreal with the concurrent Women’s event. The 2013 winner was Rafael Nadal but a wrist issue means he will not compete here while his US Open defence is possibly in doubt too.

Check out the Full Draw Here: ATP Toronto Masters 2014 Draw

He beat this year’s top seed Novak Djokovic in the semi finals on his way to victory last year and the World No.1 will be the favourite to take the title this time round. His potential second round encounter with Gael Monfils is one of a few potential early round blockbusters on paper. However, the Frenchman remains fragile and has not played since Wimbledon after withdrawing from planned events since then. Monfils plays Radek Stepanek in his opener for the ninth time, going 5-3 against the veteran to date. The first quarter does have a decidedly French flavour to it with five in total. Jeremy Chardy should ease past Federico Delbonis to ensure a Frenchman in round three as the winner will play against the victor of the match between Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Edouard Roger Vasselin. Given Tsonga is 7-0 against his countryman, it is likely the 13th seed will advance to round two.

After facing off in the Washington semi finals just this past week, Vasek Pospisil and Richard Gasquet will meet once more in round one. The Canadian’s run to the semi finals was the highlight of his 2013 summer and with plenty of points to defend, a confidence boosting final in Washington is just what the doctor ordered. Pospisil came from a break down in the decider to beat 12th seed Gasquet there. Bernard Tomic looked to have emerged from his slump by winning the Bogota title only to disappoint with a straight sets loss to Istomin the following week in Washington. The Aussie will play the opponent he beat in that final, Ivo Karlovic, in his opener. There is an outside possibility that eighth seed Andy Murray would have to play two Australian’s back to back if Tomic and Nick Kyrgios make it that far. Kyrgios will play Santiago Giraldo in his first match since his breakthrough tournament at Wimbledon.

The section headed by Stanislas Wawrinka is up for grabs if the Swiss is off his game although a 15-2 hard court record this year makes this seem unlikely. He begins against either Alejandro Falla or Benoit Paire in round two.  Paire beat his sometimes doubles partner in straight sets last year at this event but Wawrinka has made large strides the past 12 months. Thanasi Kokkinakis earned a qualifying spot by virtue of his opponent retiring in qualifying round two. He plays against Kevin Anderson, who is still a tough opponent despite a shaky few weeks prior to this event. Fabio Fognini had a bizarre tournament last year, playing five 6-1 sets out of the six in total in his two matches. The Italian 16th seed is far from impressive on hard court and Mikhail Youzhny will look to take advantage of an opponent who saw a fair drop off in points after failing to defend his two titles and a final in the 3 clay events post-Wimbledon.

Tommy Robredo assumes a seeded spot after Kei Nishikori’s withdrawal but doesn’t get the easiest opponent in Philipp Kohlschreiber. The German was another player to be defeated by David Goffin in Kitzbuhel as the Belgian extended his winning streak. Dominic Thiem lost to Goffin in his first final and now has to make the quick switch to hard courts on a different continent. It may be too quick an ask, especially against a savvy opponent like Gilles SimonGrigor Dimitrov rounds off the top half as seventh seed, looking to further secure his spot in the top 10.

Alongside Pospisil, Milos Raonic made it a tournament to remember last year as he made the final. He would be defeated easily by Rafael Nadal but it was a terrific feat nonetheless. Raonic defeated his fellow Canadian in the Washington final to ensure he comes into this event in good form. Wildcard Jack Sock could play Raonic for the third time this year if he beats Jurgen Melzer. Sock has lost all 4 sets to Raonic in 2014, three of them tiebreaks. Ernests Gulbis has not played since his surprise loss to Stakhovsky at Wimbledon and will make his return against Joao Sousa. Gulbis had a fairly easy time when they met at Indian Wells, winning 3 & 3. Julien Benneteau heads to Canada with five first round exits in six to take on Lleyton Hewitt who he is 1-2 against, although they haven’t played since 2009.

Tomas Berdych could play Spaniards in his first two matches if the draw goes as planned. Marcel Granollers would be first up should he defeat Yen Hsun-Lu with a likely third round against Roberto Bautista-Agut who is 2-0 on outdoor hard against the Czech. A winner last time out in Stuttgart, Agut must first defeat Feliciano Lopez then the winner of an all-qualifier clash between Tim Smyczek and Tobias Kamke.

Two times winner Roger Federer leads the final quarter of the draw and will fancy his chances of success with the way the draw has panned out for him. Although Jerzy Janowicz is a potential first opponent, it will be the type of match Federer will thrive on especially if the Pole isn’t on top form. Federer has shown he can pick apart top servers, most recently doing so against Raonic at Wimbledon. Janowicz isn’t in great form so it isn’t a guarantee he will make it past wildcard Peter PolanskyMarin Cilic is 4-1 against opening opponent Denis Istomin but the Uzbek won their last meeting and only one this year. If Marinko Matosevic competes in round one, he will have done so due to the blatant abuse of lucky loser rules – retiring knowing he was already guaranteed a spot. The Australian plays Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, a kinder draw than the spot that went to the ‘winner’ of his match – Thanasi Kokkinakis.

John Isner failed to defend the Washington title during his most productive time of the year but a quarter final isn’t out of the question here. He plays Ivan Dodig to begin the tournament with Andreas Seppi or Brayden Schnur in round two. Schnur plays his first ATP event after qualifying with wins over Sugita and Ebden. David Ferrer is the last of the seeds and will play Nicolas Mahut or Michael Russell in his opening game. Ferrer was shocked by Leonardo Mayer and Carlos Berlocq in clay tournaments after Wimbledon, the former in the final of Hamburg.

SF: Novak Djokovic def. Grigor Dimitrov
SF: Roger Federer def. Milos Raonic
F: Novak Djokovic def. Roger Federer

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