Montreal Rogers Cup: Draw Analysis
By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin and Maxime Labrecque | August 3, 2014
MONTREAL – The Rogers Cup in Montreal will start on Monday with part of the first round matches. Here is an analysis of each section of the draw, and our picks as to who will emerge.
The first quarter is surely the strongest and is headlined by defending champion and top-ranked Serena Williams. Despite a very disappointing year in the Slams, the American is holding on strong to her No.1 ranking, but has an impressive streak of wins to defend. Her draw isn’t too kind, as she may start against Samantha Stosur, who, despite some poor recent results, always is a threat. Serena isn’t the only one in her section with points to defend: Sorana Cirstea, last year’s surprising finalist, starts up against Wimbledon semifinalist and 15th seed Safarova; a loss here would push her out of the top 70. The winner of that match should face Serena in the third round.
Eugenie ‘Genie’ Bouchard is coming to Montreal as the obvious crowd-favorite; she is the talk of the town and all eyes will be on her. A wildcard last year, she is now ranked 7th the world, seeded 5th and has won more Grand Slam matches than anyone in 2014. While this pressure might be overwhelming for a lot of players, Genie thrives in these conditions and will want to impress her countrymen. Her third round opponent should be 11th seed Caroline Wozniacki, who is finding some form in the past few weeks. A former champion in Montreal and now 100% focused on tennis, she will be looking to make a big move on the top players and the Rogers Cup could be the first step to a comeback to the top ranks.
CD and Max: Wozniacki def. Serena
Maria Sharapova is playing her first event after Wimbledon, and she seems determined to make it good. Despite being scheduled to play her first match on Wednesday, the fourth seed arrived in Montreal on Thursday night and was seen practicing intensely with coach Sven Groeneveld all weekend. Her second round opponent could be rising star Muguruza, who barely upset the Russian at the French Open. The hard-hitting Spaniard will try to knock Maria off her game and have her on the run, where she may not be as comfortable. The winner of that one should sail to the quarters.
Angelique Kerber is often forgotten, but the German has been consistently reaching the latter stages of tournaments for over two years. Her road to the quarters could be tricky with young Garcia and then either Venus Williams, Pavlyuchenkova or Pennetta. All eyes will be on the American, who will be coming to Montreal for the first time of her career. Astonishingly, Venus Williams has never won a match at the Rogers Cup, going 0-4 in Toronto, and her first round clash with Pavlyuchenkova could be a good one. If consistency prevails, Kerber should reach the quarters and aim to repeat her Wimbledon upset over Sharapova.
CD and Max: Sharapova def. Kerber
The third quarter is the most unpredictable of all: Agnieszka Radwanska is the top seed of the section, but she lost last week in her first match to Lepchenko and is prone to upsets lately. She should win her opener, but will struggle against the winner of the Errani/Lisicki/Kuznetsova/Keys portion, which is by far the most intriguing. It’s anyone’s bet as to who will come out of the section.
Viktoria Azarenka, who missed most of 2014, squeaked in the first 8 seeds and could find her form back by fighting through her draw. Her second round opponent should be Cornet, who has had a solid year but isn’t at her best on faster hardcourts. Then awaits Cibulkova, who despite a fantastic start of the year, has been struggling to back up her wins. Hardcourts are Vika’s bread and butter, and she has a good record at the Rogers Cup; expect her to make some noise here.
CD: Azarenka def. Kuznetsova
Max: Radwanska def. Cornet
Petra Kvitova is just out of her honeymoon after her second Wimbledon crown and she will be aiming at keeping her winning streak alive in Montreal. Usually not the most comfortable during the North American summer, the second seed did win the title here two years ago and should be full of confidence. Her draw is tricky, with doubles partner Flipkens possibly in round 2, then Makarova or Petkovic in the third round. She has a losing record to both Flipkens and Petkovic, so her presence late in the tournament is nothing but safe.
Jelena Jankovic rounds up the fourth section as the 7th seed and is looking to win her first match since the French Open in May. Her opening match should be against either Sloane Stephens or local favorite Aleksandra Wozniak, who will be facing off in a marquee match on Monday night. In the third round should await Ana Ivanovic, who barely upset Serena Williams last week in Stanford and has what seems like two easy first matches. Ivanovic, with a 9-3 lead over Jankovic, will be a heavy favorite to reach the quarterfinals.
CD: Ivanovic def. Kvitova
Max: Petkovic def. Ivanovic
Stay tuned for daily updates from the Tennis Panorama News in Montreal all week. Follow instant updates on Twitter @TennisNewsTPN.