The North American swing moves onto Canada with a depleted field in Toronto for the Rogers Cup. Defending champion Andy Murray, who was only 800 points behind Novak Djokovic in the race rankings before this tournament, has chosen not to participate while Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are also top 10 players that will miss this tournament.
Djokovic can extend his lead in the race to something that might be hard to catch up with if he wins this tournament as expected and takes the 1000 ranking points on offer for the champion. He was beaten by Murray in last year’s final, one of the few wins for the Brit over Djokovic in recent times. Djokovic looks to bounce back after his astonishing early departure at Wimbledon.
A big serving American in John Isner could be his quarter final opponent but it isn’t a guarantee that the ninth seed will make it far enough to meet the World No.1. Isner, who has twice made Masters 1000 finals thanks to victories over Djokovic along the way, had a disappointing quarter final loss to Steve Johnson in his first American tournament of the summer. He faced 0 break points to his fellow American but lost two tiebreaks in the straight sets loss. The other likely opponent for Djokovic in the quarter finals is Tomas Berdych. The Czech was a semi finalist at SW19 but was found very wanting once he got there, losing to Andy Murray in routine fashion. Berdych is 2-24 against Djokovic in his career including 11 straight losses.
Milos Raonic returns to his home country full of confidence after a great run to the final at Wimbledon, including an impressive comeback win in the semi finals over Roger Federer. It was another great tournament in a year in which he has established himself as someone who can go deep at slams on a regular basis. A possible opener against Alexander Zverev will be far from easy while recent title winners Fabio Fognini and Gael Monfils also reside in the Canadian’s quarter. Two of the men Raonic beat on his way to the final of Wimbledon, Sam Querrey and David Goffin, are also there. The turning point for his tournament was the comeback from 0-2 down against Goffin while Querrey was dismissed in 4 sets. The Djokovic win for Querrey doesn’t seem to have propelled him to greater heights after a quarter final loss to Monfils in Washington. Raonic will be hoping to make another final in Canada after doing so in the 2013 Montreal event, losing to Rafael Nadal on that occasion.
Ivo Karlovic will be looking to bounce back after blowing the Washington final from a dominant position this past week. The Croatian had been on a hot streak having won 9 matches in a row after taking the Newport title the previous week. An opener against Marin Cilic will prove tough but he did win their last match on the hard courts of Shanghai in 2014. It will be Cilic’s first match since blowing the Wimbledon quarter final from 2 sets up against Roger Federer.
He and Kei Nishikori seem the likely quarter final match up but there will be plenty of intrigue along the way, especially in the Nick Kyrgios vs Denis Shapovalov match up. Kyrgios made the semi finals of Miami in his last hard court tournament and takes on an up and coming Canadian star. Shapovalov was the winner of the Boy’s Singles event at Wimbledon. Also notable in this quarter will be the performance of Grigor Dimitrov, who has definitely failed to push on in the past two years. Once ranked inside the top 10 in August 2014, Dimitrov is clinging to a top 40 spot.
Dominic Thiem had high expectations going into Wimbledon after winning the Stuttgart title with a win over Roger Federer along the way. Unfortunately, he disappointed many hoping for a deep run by losing in the second round to Jiri Vesely. Along with losing to Jurgen Melzer in Kitzbuhel last week, it marked a disappointing couple of tournaments for the now World No. 9. If he is to live up to his No.6 seeding he will have to make it through a tough match against likely Kevin Anderson while Bernard Tomic is also seeded along the way.
The other top seed in this quarter is also hoping to bounce back from a bad Wimbledon. No.2 seed Stanislas Wawrinka was sent home early by one-time US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro, who has been inconsistent in yet another return from injury. While a semi finalist in New York last year, Spring didn’t see much success for the Swiss in North America. Losses to David Goffin and Andrey Kuznetsov earlier are way below what is expected of Wawrinka these days. It’s highly likely that a quarter final spot will decided by a match between Wawrinka and American, with three of them competing for one R16 spot alongside Alexandr Dolgopolov. Of these, Jack Sock seems the most likely opponent. The No.16 seed followed up his disappointing loss in the live fifth rubber of Davis Cup action to Croatia by losing to another Croatian in Washington, this time Ivo Karlovic.
Djokovic def. Raonic
Cilic def. Wawrinka
Djokovic def. Cilic