WTA Tour: Rogers Cup - Canadian Open Preview

Tennis player holds racquet

Damien Kayat previews selected round of 32 matches from the the WTA Tour's Rogers Cup.

WTA Tour 2019 | WTA Premier 5
Rogers Cup - Canadian Open 
Aviva Stadium, Toronto, Canada
Selected Round of 32 Matches - 7 August 2019

Belinda Bencic (7/20)
vs Julia Goerges (37/20)

It’s quite amazing to me that Bencic is still only 22 years old. One forgets how young she was when she burst onto the circuit: she won the WTA newcomer of the year award in 2014. But injury and vacillations in form led to a sharp decline in fortunes for the Swiss player regularly compared to Martina Hingis. But the New Year has brought a revival of fortunes for Bencic. She has reached the 3rd round in all four Slams, with her real success coming on the regular tour. She won the Premier 5 event in Dubai, while semi-final appearances in two Premier mandatory events - Indian Wells and Madrid - reflect a sharp turnaround in fortunes for the Swiss star. Things have gone slightly quiet since she lost the final in Mallorca, but a return to hard-court tennis should be welcomed by the powerful Bencic. Furthermore, she claimed the title here in 2015 in a terrific display of hard-court efficacy. 

Julia Goerges has been hovering in and around the world’s top 10 for some time now. The 30-year-old has won seven WTA titles and has always been a tough competitor on hard-courts: she claimed the 2017 WTA Elite Trophy on the surface. But it was on grass last year that she really raised her profile, reaching her maiden Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon. She has reached the 4th round of the other three slams, perfectly encapsulating her dogged abilities. It has been an up and down year for the German. She started the year in fine style, defending her Auckland Open crown. But nothing much followed, with a dreadful clay-court campaign seeing her plummet down the rankings. But a run to the Birmingham Final once again showcased a new-found affinity to grass. She lost to Serena in the 3rd round at Wimbledon and she will be hoping for a strong North American hard-court campaign to reclaim some lost momentum. 

This will be their 4th ever meeting, with the German holding the edge thus far with a 2-1 head-to-head advantage. Their last meeting ended with Goerges beating Bencic in the Luxembourg Open Final last year. But the ground has shifted and I fancy Bencic to easily conquer Goerges in this match. Perhaps the best value is in a straight-sets victory for Bencic.  

Eugenie Bouchard (49/20)
vs Bianca Andreescu (1/4)

This promises to be a real humdinger, with the current darling of Canadian tennis - Bianca Andreescu - taking on the wayward wunderkind- Eugenie Bouchard. The plight of Eugenie Bouchard in recent years has been rather depressing to behold. It’s amazing to consider that in 2014 she reached three Grand Slam semi-finals, ultimately reaching the final of Wimbledon. She seemed destined for a long career in the upper echelons of women’s tennis. But injury, lawsuits and a plateau in form have seen her transform into a cautionary tale on tour. Towards the end of last year, she seemed to have turned a corner, reaching the semi-final in Luxembourg. She followed that up with a quarter-final in Auckland to start this year. But since then it has been a horrendous year for Bouchard. She enters this encounter on an eight-match losing streak. She will be looking to adoring home support to elevate her performance this week. 

At 19 years of age, Bianca Andreescu was probably idolizing Eugenie Bouchard five years ago. As it is, Andreescu has enjoyed a breakthrough season in her own right, including that magnificent victory at Indian Wells. She beat the likes of Kerber, Svitolina and Muguruza en route to the title. She also reached the semi-final in Mexico and lost in the Auckland final. She is clearly a hot prospect on the hard surfaces. Many have described her variety of play as something of a throwback. She isn’t content to just mercilessly slug from the baseline. She favours changes of pace and the drop-shot, making her quite a complete player at such a young age. 

These two know each other well and been hitting partners on many occasions. They have only met once competitively, with Andreescu pulverizing Bouchard earlier this year. Andreescu is clearly the only sensible option here considering her form. However, I just wonder whether Bouchard may be worth a gander in front of a supportive home crowd. But perhaps the best option all round is for Andreescu to win an epic three-set match at 11/4.  

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