ATP Tour: Canadian Open

Betting preview for ATP Tour: Canadian Open

We preview this week's ATP Tour event: the Canadian Open set to get underway on 7 August 2017.

With events in Washington out of the way, primary attention in the world of tennis turns towards America’s northern neighbours as Canada prepares to host the first in a series of back to back Masters 1000 events that immediately precede the US Open. In what is always an interesting twist on the ATP-WTA co-sanctioned format, the Canadian Open alternates annually between Toronto and Montreal every year, with the men and women operating at the alternate facilities. The men head to Montreal this week with plenty of sub-plots awaiting, not least of which concerns the possible ascension of one Rafa Nadal to World Number One.

The ATP World Tour: Candian Open | 7 August - 13 August | Toronto, Ontario, Canada

With the superhuman feats of Roger Federer so well documented this season, it’s almost easy to forget what a stellar year the pugnacious Spaniard is currently enjoying. Completing ‘La Decima’ at Rolland Garros was one in four tournament victories and he will return to world number one should he reach the semi-finals or better. Novak it MIA while that truculent Scot Murray has not recovered from a hip injury to compete. Stan Wawrinka will also miss out on his Flushing Meadows defence, seemingly aligning the stars for a fated encounter between Rafa and Roger in New York.

That’s jumping the gun however. Federer competes this week for the first time since losing in the 2014 final to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. He will be aiming to continue his rejuvenation and pick up his third eponymous title. Rafa has won the title three times, which makes sense considering the fact the courts here generally play medium-fast. This will bring the clay-court artists more into proceedings, meaning the likes of Thiem and Bautista-Agut may become more influential. Alex Zverev is flying at the moment while those American hard-court specialists will always provide a threat.

Past Winners
2016: Novak Djokovic
2015: Andy Murray 
2014: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
2013: Rafael Nadal
2012: Novak Djokovic

The Favourites: Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer
Rafa has the opportunity to reach the number one ranking in the world by reaching the semi-final stage or better. He has had a stellar season and will be confident going into an event he has won three times. Despite that, Rafa has had issue with big serving players on hardcourts, with Raonic’s presence in his quarter of the draw looking somewhat ominous for the man from Mallorca. Roger Federer won’t be overtly fearing the presence of Kei Nishikori in his quarter, while the volatile presence of Jack Sock may give him some pause for concern. He is aiming for his third Rogers Cup in his first appearance here since 2014’s final defeat to Tsonga. In fact, Tsonga is the only other man outside the so-called ‘top four’ to have won the event in the last ten years.

Ones to Watch: Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori
I really feel that home-grown hero Raonic has the chance, particularly if he serves while come quarter-final stage against Rafa as seeds go. A former runner-up in this event, Raonic hasn’t quite lived up to his potential from last year with niggling injuries taking their tour. He was soundly beaten by Roger at Wimbledon but should feature more prominently this week. Kei Nishikori is an interesting one. The main reason I am backing him is that he represent really good value at present.

Fitness issues aside, Nishikori is starting to look much stronger, with a semi-final defeat to Zverev last week a great sign that the Japanese is starting to come into his own as his traditionally strong time of the year approaches. This time last year, he finished runner-up in Montreal before winning the bronze medal at Rio. He subsequently beat Murray en route to a semi-final appearance at Flushin Meadows, the Slam that saw him runner-up previously, precipitating a meteoric rise in the status of tennis in Japan. He was also a semi-finalist here in Montreal in 2015. He is in the same quarter as Roger, but the Swiss has occasionally struggled on these slower surfaces and may be due a fall down to 35 year-old earth.

Outsider: Denis Shapalov 
The 18-year old Canadian rookie stunned Nick Kyrgios with a first round defeat at last year’s event in Toronto. He has won three of ten matches since turning professional, and plays Dutra-Silva in his first match. Del Potro laboured slightly towards his victory over Isner and could be in for an upset if the young Canadian gets his act together and gets past the Spaniard.

Written by Damien Kayat for

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