The Rogers Cup is upon us. Who will emerge victorious? Let’s take a look.
It’s no doubt that this year’s tennis season has been a whirlwind of surprises, with once-considered fallen champions shattering all odds and reestablishing their legendary dominance, while current champions seemingly struggle to find theirs.
With that in mind, it is disappointing to think that this eventful tennis season is coming to a close. After a memorable Wimbledon 2017 where Roger Federer hoisted his record 8th Wimbledon crown, the ATP World Tour will return to the hard courts in Toronto for the Rogers Cup.
With the defending champion, Novak Djokovic, and World No.1 Andy Murray both out of the running due to injury along with a slew of other top players, who will seize the sixth Masters 1000 title of the year?
The first quarter features top seed and reincarnated champion Rafael Nadal, who has had nothing short of a spectacular season so far compared to his 2016 season. An easy favorite to get to the finals, he has racked up 2 Master’s 1000 titles (Monte Carlo & Madrid), a French Open victory and an Australian Open final this year.
Despite a successful opening season, Rafa was dethroned by the same person at all the major hard court tournaments during the initial part of the year – Roger Federer. Luckily for Rafa, Roger is on the other side of the draw. Fingers crossed that Nadal’s spectacular form and unforeseen luck will follow him into the Rogers Cup. His draw certainly isn’t easy as he’ll have to face De Potro, Raonic, and Zverev, three players who could cause him some trouble.
Also in this quarter is home-favorite Milos Raonic, who despite having a lean year so far may be able to rebound while playing on his home turf. It’s important to note that even if Milos does do the distance in his quarter, he did lose against Nadal in straight sets at the Australian Open quarterfinals.
Some other possible contenders would be Del Potro or David Goffin, who may be able to deliver some entertaining matches against the other top seeds in this quarter.
In this quarter the top seed is Sascha Zverev, the next-gen enigma that is taking the ATP World Tour by storm. He won the last Masters 1000 title in Rome, and reached the 4th round at Wimbleon, losing in five sets against Milos Raonic. Fresh off a victory against Kevin Anderson at the Citi Open, who also happens to be in this quarter, he shouldn’t have much competition to be worried about in this quarter.
The competition Zverev should be worried about, however, is none other than Australian Nick Kyrgios. Kygrios, a flamboyant next-gen player, can cause major destruction at any tournament. Despite having a controversial past, his mental state and attitude seem to be on track this season (despite a hiccup at this year’s Citi Open).
Despite a unfortunate first round exit at Wimbledon due to a hip injury, he had a excellent season beforehand, especially during the initial hard court swing. It’s important to note that he defeated Zverev at both the Miami Open and Indian Wells, both Masters 1000 hard court tournaments. He’s retired in his last three matches, but the Australian could decide to find his form here at the Rogers Cup.
An honorable mention in this quarter would be American Sam Querrey, who recently made the semi-finals of Wimbledon and just won in Los Cabos. I would mention Tsonga as a honorable mention, but the fact that he lost against Querrey during Wimbledon may feel redundant.
This quarter features top seeds Grigor Dimitrov and Dominic Thiem, both of whom have had excellent showings this year during major tournaments, Dimitrov with his five set thriller against Nadal during the Australian Open semi-final’s and Thiem with his semi-final showing at the French Open.
Grigor Dimitrov, who reaches his max potential in bursts, was able to reach the 4th round of Wimbledon, losing in straight sets to Roger Federer. Dominic Thiem also produced a 4th round result at Wimbledon. Despite producing inconsistent results this season, Thiem and Dimitrov seem to have their game in order, and should be able to do the distance in their quarter.
Berdych should be the favorite for this quarter after a good run in the first part of the season. He’s lost three times to Federer, but the last two were close, Berdych having match points in the second in Miami. His booming groundstrokes suit the surface, and he could be looking at a deep run here at the Rogers Cup.
An honorable mention would be Mischa Zverev, the serve and volleyer who has emerged onto the tour this season.
The final quarter features second seed Roger Federer, who is coming off a Wimbledon victory with plenty of other major victories to back it up. Despite skipping the entire clay season, he was able to win the Australian Open and the Sunshine Double during the initial hard court season. Can he win the Rogers Cup as well?
As aforementioned, he defeated top seed Nadal en route to all of those victories. Roger Federer is the clear favorite in the bottom half of the draw, and nothing backs that up better than his 2017 trophy collection and impeccable form. This quarter features top seeds Kei Nishikori and Jack Sock, but it is unlikely they will be able to take down Federer if he continues his form.
Kei Nishikori has had a bit of a injury plagued season (who would have guessed), but despite that, his unpredictability and ability to do destruction means you can never completely write him off. Also in this quarter is Jack Sock, who had a excellent showing at both Indian Wells and Miami Open. Much like Nishikori, he can be unpredictable and can also do damage.
Another honorable mention would be Monfils, who despite having a bit of a disappointing season this year, always seems to be ready to make a comeback and put on a show. After all, his game can be quite be fickle.
Matches To Watch (Not Including Post-Quarter’s)
G. Monfils vs. K. Nishikori – Second Round
G. Dimitrov vs. M. Zverev – Second Round
R. Nadal vs. J. Del Potro – Third Round
M. Raonic vs. D. Goffin – Third Round
A. Zverev vs. N. Kygrios – Third Round
G. Dimitrov vs. T. Berdych – Third Round
J. Sock vs. R. Federer – Third Round
R. Nadal def. M. Raonic
N. Kygrios def. S. Querry
D. Thiem def. G. Dimitrov
R. Federer def. K. Nishikori
R. Nadal def. N. Kygrios
R. Federer def. D. Thiem
R. Federer def. R. Nadal