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Rafa Nadal Leads The Way At Rogers Cup, Djokovic and Federer Still Resting And Recharging And Recovery

By Ricky Dimon

It is not often that Rafael Nadal is the top seed and also the odds-on favorite at one of the biggest hard-court events in the world, but that will be the case at the upcoming Rogers Cup in Montreal.

There are plenty of reasons why, most significantly that Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are still resting in between Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Additionally, Nadal is not only both healthy and in fine form this summer, but this Masters 1000 tournament is also one of his best away from clay. The second-ranked Spaniard is a four-time champion of the Rogers Cup, having lifted the trophy in 2005 (Montreal), 2008 (Toronto), 2013 (Montreal), and 2018 (Toronto). Back in Montreal this time around, Nadal will be hoping to make amends for a surprising 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(4) third-round setback against Denis Shapovalov in 2017.

Another up-and-comer, Alex de Minaur, will hope to send Nadal packing right away in round two. De Minaur, the recent Atlanta champion, will begin his week against a qualifier. Also lurking in the top quarter of the draw are Fabio Fognini, David Goffin, Los Cabos semifinalists Guido Pella and Radu Albot, and current Washington, D.C. semifinalist Peter Gojowyczk.

Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas are on a collision course for the SFs in what would a rematch of last year’s Toronto title tilt. Tsitsipas, who currently finds himself among the last four in Washington, D.C. against Nick Kyrgios, awaits either Hubert Hurkacz or an on-fire Taylor Fritz in his opener. Kei Nishikori, Roberto Bautista Agut, and current Los Cabos finalist Diego Schwartzman could potentially run into Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals.

The bottom half of the Montreal bracket is completely wide open, as many of the seeds come with question marks and the unseeded contingent is formidable. Dominic Thiem will be making a quick transition from clay to hard courts after triumphing at home in Austria (Kitzbuhel) on Saturday evening. Montreal champion Alexander Zverev (2017) continues to struggle, while Karen Khachanov has cooled off since his quarterfinal performance at the French Open. Daniil Medvedev is supremely confident right now, but he won’t be playing on much rest (in the Washington semis as of Saturday) and Kyrgios is his likely second-round opponent.

In addition to Kyrgios, other unseeded threats are Shapovalov, Stan Wawrinka, Grigor Dimitrov, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and Jan-Lennard Struff.

Among the first-rounders in the bottom half are Wawrinka vs. Dimitriov and Tsonga vs. Struff.

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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