Sunday, 4 August 2013

ATP Montreal: Preview and Predictions

Wimbledon is a long and distant memory and it is now time for the preparations to begin towards the US Open with Canada hosting all the big names bar Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.  Note that the top eight seeds all have byes into the second round.

FIRST PROJECTED QUARTER - N.Djokovic (1) v R.Gasquet (7)
Richard Gasquet
Very much like 2012, Novak Djokovic will have been disappointed by his exploits at the French Open and Wimbledon.  Once again, he came up short against Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros and finished Wimbledon on a low with by far and away his weakest ever performance in a major final.  He is safe in the world number one spot for now, but is defending winner points in Canada.  First up for Djokovic is either Bernard Tomic or Florian Mayer, who meet in the first round.  Djokovic's section looks relatively straightforward with Richard Gasquet, Kei Nishikori and Janko Tipsarevic the three seeds in his quarter of the draw.

Tipsarevic has been in truly hopeless form, building a 7-14 record since Australia, meanwhile Gasquet suffered a disappointing Wimbledon campaign and then fell first match in Umag in what was an ill-advised scheduling move.  Tipsarevic takes on Denis Istomin in the first round and I cannot see him getting past that one in his current form.  Nishikori suffered a pasting from Marcos Baghdatis in D.C. and could meet Andreas Seppi in round two, who defeated him at Wimbledon this year.

1st Round Predictions: Tomic to beat F.Mayer in 3 sets, Nieminen to beat Peliwo in 2 sets, Istomin to beat Tipsarevic in 2 tight sets and Klizan to beat Bellucci in 2 tight sets

Moo's Quarter-Final Prediction - Djokovic v Gasquet

SECOND PROJECTED QUARTER - R.Nadal (4) v S.Wawrinka (8)
Stan Wawrinka
After a peculiar Wimbledon opener against Steve Darcis where he spent the final set visibly limping, Rafael Nadal makes his return to the tour on his less favoured hard courts.  Let's not forget though that the last time he played on the hard courts he went all the way to the title at Indian Wells.  It is an interesting section for Nadal with a potential third round tie with Jerzy Janowicz looming.  The current crop of hot prospects on the ATP tour have been somewhat underwhelming in their performances this year, but Janowicz is one who has managed to deliver as he took full advantage of the Wimbledon upsets to make the semi-finals.  Janowicz has a testing opener with Julien Benneteau, but it's one I would fancy him to win.  

Tommy Haas and Stanislas Wawrinka are projected to meet in the third round.  Both French Open quarter-finalists, they have flourished in 2013 with Haas maintaining immaculate consistency throughout the entire year, meanwhile Wawrinka peaked in Australia with that incredible match against Djokovic and during the whole clay court season where he performed admirably.  Wawrinka takes on either Benoit Paire or Philipp Kohlscheiber, which will be one of the highlights of the first round.  My surprise tip this week is that I think Paire will do very well and I have a feeling he will take out Stan in round two.  Haas will start up with two qualifiers in the first two rounds.

1st Round Predictions: Levine to beat Malisse in 3 sets, Janowicz to beat Benneteau in 2 tight sets and Paire to beat Kohlschreiber in 3 sets

Moo's Quarter-Final Prediction - Nadal v Paire

THIRD PROJECTED QUARTER - T.Berdych (5) v D.Ferrer (3)
Tomas Berdych
The weakest of the four quarters in Canada hosts Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer, both coming off quarter-final runs at Wimbledon.  Berdych is likely to open up against his ultimate pigeon, Kevin Anderson.  Spare a thought for poor old Kevin who has lost all nine previous matches with the Berd including a whopping FIVE times in 2013.  John Isner is also in this section, but he has played a lot of tennis in the last couple of weeks.  He could meet Nicolas Almagro in the second round, which if 100% I would give him the edge, but I am not so sure having played nine matches in the past two weeks.

Ferrer has had a well earnt break and is normally a bit of a slow starter although his draw gives him the opportunity to work through the gears.  In the second round, he will take on Michael Llodra or a qualifier.  Gilles Simon is the highest seed he could meet before the quarter-finals and that is not exactly a threatening proposition because Simon has lost his last three matches including a second rounder to Dmitry Tursunov in Washington D.C.

1st Round Predictions: Anderson to beat Dolgopolov in 2 tight sets, Isner to beat Pospisil in 3 sets, Almagro to beat Stepanek in 3 sets and Simon to beat Davydenko in 2 tight sets

Moo's Quarter-Final Prediction - Berdych v Ferrer

FOURTH PROJECTED QUARTER - J.M del Potro (6) v A.Murray (2)
Andy Murray
The final quarter is certainly the most intriguing of them all with Juan Martin del Potro and Andy Murray joined by a mix of in-form players and hot prospects.  Del Potro played some extraordinary tennis at Wimbledon and has looked superb so far in Washington.  My only concern is that he is peaking too early for the US Open, but he will there or thereabouts in my opinion.  His first match in Montreal will be against Grega Zemlja or Ivan DodigMilos Raonic is a potential third round opponent, but the Canadian is on a dire run of form and either Jeremy Chardy (R1) or the in-form Mikhail Youzhny (R2) will fancy their chances in knocking out the home hopes.

Murray returns to action following his incredible triumphs on the grass courts of Wimbledon and Queens.  The draw gods have not been kind to him and he is a notorious slow starter.  In the first round he will play either Grigor Dimitrov or the Kitzbuhel champion, Marcel Granollers.  Also well worthy of a shout-out is Fabio Fognini, who went on a stunning 14-match winning streak after Wimbledon.  He could get his shot at a big gun with Murray in round three.  If Fognini fails to deliver then Ernests Gulbis or Feliciano Lopez will be ones to watch as they play each other in the first round.

Moo's Quarter-Final Prediction - Del Potro v Murray

Moo's Final Prediction - Djokovic d. Del Potro
I fancy Djokovic to retain his title in Canada this week with a victory over Nadal in the semi-finals and then another win over Del Potro.  I cannot see Murray making the final with his very difficult draw and expect him to compete much tougher in Cincy.

You can view my full predictions for Montreal HERE

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