(July 31, 2016) Novak Djokovic won his fourth Rogers Cup title on Sunday in Toronto beating Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-3, 7-5. For the Serb, the world’s top player it’s his 30th Masters Series title on the ATP World Tour, adding to his Masters title record. In the event which rotates between Toronto and Montreal, Djokovic also won titles in 2007, 2011 and 2012.
Djokovic, who has nine straight wins against Nishikori, is now 33-1 on hard courts for the year.
“I think he stepped it up,” said Nishikori. “He raise his level I think a lot from these couple days, couple days ago.
“He played really deep, and he didn’t give me any, like, free points. Especially he was serving really well, so I didn’t have many, you know, chance for my return game. So I was really feeling the pressure every game.
“Maybe second set maybe I had some chance, but there was too many unforced errors from me. Well, also he was playing good, but I couldn’t play good tennis today.”
“I think, like I said, I had too many unforced errors especially during important points. Yeah, he was returning really well today, I think. I was hitting some good first serves, but he was making return in deep.
“I hope I can step it up a little more and winning some titles, but I think still Novak is biggest challenge for me to win against him. Especially on hard court he’s been beating me. You know, not easy but two sets. Miami, here, especially big match like here in final.
“So I think I need more experience, you know, of these kind of matches, but I think this is a great week even though I lost Novak. It was second time this year in the final, Masters. I think getting closer and closer. So hope I can get a Masters title as soon as possible.
“I think that’s going to give me a lot of confidence for winning the Grand Slams and those big tournaments.
This is Djokovic’s seventh title of the year which includes victories at two majors – the Australian Open and the French Open with Masters titles at Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Toronto, as well as a tournament in Doha.
Djokovic, whose next stop is Rio de Janiero for the Olympic Games was asked about his participation and if he has concerns about playing there.
“No, no. Really, again, I think it’s all in our minds,” he said about people having reservations about playing in Rio. “Depends how you really approach things. I really don’t think about negative stuff and stuff that might cause a fear or concern or something like that, like viruses or security issues.
“Surely they are there. We have to be, in a way, cautious. But I try to look at things from the brighter side. I’m part of the Olympic Games. You know, it’s a very exciting city and country that is very passionate for sports. You know, millions of people will be there. You know, so many other millions will watch it on the TV. That’s the kind of vibe that I feed on, and I look forward to the Olympic Games because I approach it in that way. So I can’t wait to be there.”
Asked about the importance of winning a gold medal to his legacy he commented:
“Well, there is going to be a lot going on with the Olympic Games, and as you mentioned, different sports and different events.
“Well, it’s the biggest sports event in the history of the sport, so to be part of it is already a huge privilege and honor that I will cherish, as I did in Beijing and London Olympic Games.
“I had an honor of carrying the flag for my country in London back in 2012, and that was one of the most unique and unforgettable moments of my life. So I look forward to that, honestly, just being part of it.
“Approaching the Olympic Games as any other tournament, really. Trying to respect the same kind of preparation and routine that I have with my team and that I have respected for so many years, and that has worked well for us this week and as most of the other weeks the last couple of years.
“So of course the overall sensation is not going to be the same as the other tournaments, because it’s Olympic Games. You know, of course you represent your country. You know, you get to feel that you’re part of something much larger than just the tennis event. I look forward to that. I’m going to try to extract that positivity out of that huge attention and energy that will be directed into the Olympic Games and hopefully put myself in a position to battle for a medal.”
“After Grand Slams, these are the biggest events we have in sport of tennis,” Djokovic continued. “Naturally I’m going to be very disciplined, committed, and focused to do well.
“But, you know, obviously Grand Slams you value those, you know, the most because in the history books they count the most. But in the other hand, you know, I love playing in Masters tournaments throughout my career. I have had plenty of success in this particular category of events, and I’m very grateful for that because I always value them as much as I value Grand Slams.
“So, you know, I try to approach every single day, whether it’s a match day or practice day, with the right mindset and knowing that this will eventually pay off down the road.”
Djokovic captured the bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic games.
All photos by Nida Alibhai.
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(July 29, 2016) TORONTO – All photos by Nida Alibhai from Friday.
RESULTS – FRIDAY, 29 JULY 2016
Singles – Quarter-finals
 N. Djokovic (SRB) d  T. Berdych (CZE) 76(6) 64
 S. Wawrinka (SUI) d K. Anderson (RSA) 61 63
 K. Nishikori (JPN) d G. Dimitrov (BUL) 63 36 62
 G. Monfils (FRA) d  M. Raonic (CAN) 64 64
Doubles – Quarter-finals
 F. Mergea (ROU) / H. Tecau (ROU) d  B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) 63 63
 J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) d  R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) 36 75 10-4
 I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) d  H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) 36 64 10-8
 D. Nestor (CAN) / V. Pospisil (CAN) d T. Berdych (CZE) / R. Stepanek (CZE) 63 76(6)
SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 30 JULY 2016
CENTRE COURT start 12:20 pm
 F. Mergea (ROU) / H. Tecau (ROU) vs  I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA)
Not Before 3:00 pm
 K. Nishikori (JPN) vs  S. Wawrinka (SUI)
Not Before 5:50 pm
 D. Nestor (CAN) / V. Pospisil (CAN) vs  J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA)
Not Before 8:00 pm
 N. Djokovic (SRB) vs  G. Monfils (FRA)
(July 28, 2016) TORONTO – All photos by Nida Alibhai from Wednesday.
RESULTS – THURSDAY, 28 JULY 2016
Singles – Second Round
 N. Djokovic (SRB) d [Q] R. Stepanek (CZE) 62 64
 S. Wawrinka (SUI) d  J. Sock (USA) 76(3) 62
 K. Nishikori (JPN) d R. Ram (USA) 63 64
 M. Raonic (CAN) d [Q] J. Donaldson (USA) 62 63
 T. Berdych (CZE) d [Q] R. Harrison (USA) 64 67(2) 64
 G. Monfils (FRA) d  D. Goffin (BEL) 76(5) 26 64
K. Anderson (RSA) d  B. Tomic (AUS) 46 63 64
G. Dimitrov (BUL) d I. Karlovic (CRO) 63 75
Doubles – Second Round
 B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d M. Matkowski (POL) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) 64 64
 J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) d B. Tomic (AUS) / V. Troicki (SRB) 63 62
 D. Nestor (CAN) / V. Pospisil (CAN) d N. Kyrgios (AUS) / J. Sock (USA) 76(4) 01 Ret. (Sock arm)
 R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) d [WC] P. Bester (CAN) / A. Shamasdin (CAN) 64 76(4)
 H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) d G. Dimitrov (BUL) / S. Wawrinka (SUI) 76(4) 62
SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 29 JULY 2016
CENTRE COURT start 12:30 pm
K. Anderson (RSA) vs  S. Wawrinka (SUI)
G. Dimitrov (BUL) vs  K. Nishikori (JPN)
Not Before 6:30 pm
 N. Djokovic (SRB) vs  T. Berdych (CZE)
 M. Raonic (CAN) vs  G. Monfils (FRA)
GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
 B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) vs  F. Mergea (ROU) / H. Tecau (ROU)
 R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) vs  J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA)
 I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) vs  H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS)
Not Before 7:30 pm
After Suitable Rest –  D. Nestor (CAN) / V. Pospisil (CAN) vs T. Berdych (CZE) / R. Stepanek (CZE)
(July 26, 2016) TORONTO – All photos by Nida Alibhai.
RESULTS – TUESDAY, 26 JULY 2016
Singles – Second Round
 S. Wawrinka (SUI) d M. Youzhny (RUS) 76(3) 76(8)
 T. Berdych (CZE) d B. Coric (CRO) 46 61 64
 G. Monfils (FRA) d J. Sousa (POR) 63 63
 L. Pouille (FRA) d [Q] E. Gomez (ECU) 67(8) 64 75
[Q] R. Stepanek (CZE) d  B. Paire (FRA) 61 63
F. Fognini (ITA) d  S. Johnson (USA) 64 64
Y. Lu (TPE) d A. Zverev (GER) 75 63
[Q] J. Donaldson (USA) d J. Millman (AUS) 64 43 ret. (left wrist)
V. Pospisil (CAN) d J. Chardy (FRA) 76(3) 00 ret. (right foot)
I. Karlovic (CRO) d T. Fritz (USA) 67(9) 76(5) 62
R. Ram (USA) d E. Gulbis (LAT) 64 62
[Q] D. Novikov (USA) d F. Delbonis (ARG) 64 63
D. Young (USA) d A. Dolgopolov (UKR) 76(6) 64
Doubles – First Round
J. Isner (USA) / A. Zverev (GER) d R. Lindstedt (SWE) / S. Querrey (USA) 76(4) 63
[PR] M. Cilic (CRO) / M. Draganja (CRO) d J. Benneteau (FRA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) 63 64
N. Kyrgios (AUS) / J. Sock (USA) d G. Muller (LUX) / B. Paire (FRA) 64 62
[WC] P. Bester (CAN) / A. Shamasdin (CAN) d N. Djokovic (SRB) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) 75 46 10-2
B. Tomic (AUS) / V. Troicki (SRB) d [WC] F. Auger Aliassime (CAN) / D. Shapovalov (CAN) 64 63
SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 27 JULY 2016
CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
[Q] D. Novikov (USA) vs  K. Nishikori (JPN)
Not Before 1:00 pm
 N. Djokovic (SRB) vs G. Muller (LUX)
T. Berdych (CZE) / R. Stepanek (CZE) vs  R. Bopanna (IND) / J. Rojer (NED)
Not Before 6:30 pm
 M. Raonic (CAN) vs Y. Lu (TPE)
G. Dimitrov (BUL) vs [WC] D. Shapovalov (CAN)
GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
 J. Isner (USA) vs [Q] R. Harrison (USA)
 D. Thiem (AUT) vs K. Anderson (RSA)
 M. Cilic (CRO) vs I. Karlovic (CRO)
 G. Monfils (FRA) vs V. Pospisil (CAN)
 I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) vs [PR] M. Cilic (CRO) / M. Draganja (CRO)
COURT 1 start 11:00 am
[WC] P. Polansky (CAN) vs [Q] R. Stepanek (CZE)
[WC] S. Diez (CAN) vs  B. Tomic (AUS)
 J. Sock (USA) vs D. Young (USA)
M. Matkowski (POL) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) vs L. Kubot (POL) / A. Peya (AUT)
COURT 4 start 11:00 am
 L. Pouille (FRA) vs R. Ram (USA)
S. Querrey (USA) vs  D. Goffin (BEL)
[Q] J. Donaldson (USA) vs F. Fognini (ITA)
J. Isner (USA) / A. Zverev (GER) vs  F. Mergea (ROU) / H. Tecau (ROU)
Rogers Cup Day 01: Kvitova, Stosur Overcome the Rain in Montreal Opener
By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin | Montreal
(July 25, 2016) MONTREAL – In a day interrupted by numerous rain showers, former 2012 winner Petra Kvitova and 2011 finalist Samantha Stosur have advanced to the second round of the Montreal Rogers Cup.
Kvitova, seeded 12th, has been coming off a difficult 2016: the two-time Wimbledon champion, who usually excels on grass, failed to win two matches in a row in any of her three grass tournaments. For her first match on North American hardcourt, she was facing difficult humid and heavy conditions, which have proved difficult for her in the past. Also, her opponent, qualifier Magda Linette, was coming off an impressive win against Sabine Lisicki this weekend and had pushed Venus Williams to a third set last week in Stanford. On paper, the upset looked possible.
But that was underestimating Kvitova, who is known for coming out with dominant performances when they are least expected. Right from the get-go, she looked like the player who won this same event in 2012: incredibly powerful in every aspect of the game. Her serve was especially on point today, not allowing one single break point to Linette in the 6-1 6-2 win. There was just nothing the Pole could do in, and Alizé Cornet or Andrea Petkovic will have a lot on their plate in the second round if Kvitova keeps that consistent level of play.
Samantha Stosur, who reached the final at the Rogers Cup in 2011 right before her US Open win, was also facing tough competition in Heather Watson. The Brit, who was just coming from her inspiring mixed doubles title in her home slam at Wimbledon, has had success on hard court this year, including her third WTA title in Monterey. Stosur, the 13th seed, drew first blood taking an early 5-3 lead, before feisty Watson leveled the match at 5-all. The Australian, who relies on her heavy forehand and trademarked kick serve, upped her aggression which proved to be too much for the more defensive Watson. After closing the first set 7-5, she broke three times in the second set to wrap up this first round in two sets.
“I thought it was pretty good (performance) considering we had to wait a long time to play,” said Stosur. “Sometimes it’s hard to kind of find some rhythm, you know, get really good energy out on the court after you’ve been sitting around for a long time.
“I was quite pleased overall with how I played. There’s obviously things you want to do better. But to get through that in straight sets, I’m pretty happy.”
Stosur noted the keys to her win:”I feel like when I was able to go back behind her to her backhand, that worked well. Overall I thought I served pretty well, so there wasn’t, like, a lot of points on serve where she could really dictate off the first shot. If I could get a good strike, I was in good shape to win those points. I think I was able to attack her second serve pretty well.”
Other notable matches on Monday saw Daria Gavrilova beat Annika Beck 6-4,6-3 to set up a mouth-watering night match on Tuesday against Simon Halep, while Madison Brengle and Barbora Strycova respectively fought past Ekaterina Makarova and Caroline Garcia in high-quality three set battles.
Tuesday marks the entrance of local star Eugenie Bouchard in a battle of Grand Slam finalists against Lucie Safarova; also on court will be 3rd seed and French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, 10th seed Madison Keys, Stanford winner Johanna Konta and Dominika Cibulkova.
RESULTS – JULY 25, 2016
Women’s Singles – First Round
 P. Kvitova (CZE) d [Q] M. Linette (POL) 61 62
 S. Stosur (AUS) d H. Watson (GBR) 75 63
 E. Svitolina (UKR) d [Q] J. Brady (USA) 62 64
[Q] N. Broady (GBR) d M. Puig (PUR) 36 64 62
M. Brengle (USA) d E. Makarova (RUS) 64 16 64
B. Strycova (CZE) d [WC] C. Garcia (FRA) 26 63 63
D. Gavrilova (AUS) d A. Beck (GER) 64 63
[Q] C. Giorgi (ITA) d S. Stephens (USA) 76(2) 76(4)
M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO) d [Q] N. Hibino (JPN) 62 60
Women’s Doubles – First Round
K. Bondarenko (UKR) / O. Savchuk (UKR) d  T. Babos (HUN) / L. Safarova (CZE) 62 62
[WC] S. Halep (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU) d G. Dabrowski (CAN) / A. Kudryavtseva (RUS) 63 62
(July 25, 2016) Coming off the Junior Boys’ singles title at Wimbledon, 17-year-old Denis Shapovalov received a wildcard into the Rogers Cup in Toronto, his home tournament. The youngest player in the tournament made good use of his entry by upsetting 11th seed Australia’s Nick Kyrgios 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-3 in the first round on Monday night.
The winner could hardly believe that he won the match when he spoke to media.
“Nick is an incredible tennis player,” he said. “He’s top 20 in the world. Maybe even future No. 1 in the world.
“So obviously I didn’t expect to win. But like I said before, I’m just going to go fight for every point. That’s what I did. The outcome was very good today.”
“My whole family was there, my whole team, my sponsor, my physio. Couple of very close friends to me were there.”
“On the on-court interview, this girl, she was interviewing me and she asked me, Do you want me to pinch you?”
“I said, Yeah. Frankly I actually didn’t feel the pinch. I might be dreaming still. Yeah, it’s still hitting me. It’s going to be crazy, but there’s a next match and I have got to get ready for tomorrow.”
“I just didn’t play great,” Kyrgios said.
“He played well. You know, obviously he was excited playing in front of his home crowd. I know what it feels like obviously to come off one of your biggest junior results and then play in one of your home tournaments. I know that feeling. It’s great. I hope he enjoys it and rests up and does well.
“Yeah, I’m not going to tell you what I did or didn’t do to prepare for this match,” the eleventh seed said to reporters. “I just played pretty bad, but he played great and he earned it.”
Shapovalov said that he made the request to play on Centre Court.
“I thought it would be fun with all the fans,” he said. “I love playing on a big stage. I love, you know, impressing people. So, yeah, it was very fun for me.”
“So, you know, they really helped me a lot. And I think just the atmosphere really carried me forward today.”
Shapovalov will face former Top Ten player Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the second round. “Tournament is not over,” Shapovalov commented. “I could celebrate my win from Nick after the tournament but now I’m going to focus for Dimitrov.”
RESULTS – MONDAY, 25 JULY 2016
Singles – First Round
 J. Isner (USA) d D. Sela (ISR) 46 63 62
[WC] D. Shapovalov (CAN) d  N. Kyrgios (AUS) 76(2) 36 63
 B. Tomic (AUS) d [Q] A. Gonzalez (COL) 64 76(1)
 J. Sock (USA) d D. Kudla (USA) 62 62
G. Muller (LUX) d [PR] D. Tursunov (RUS) 76(5) 61
[WC] P. Polansky (CAN) d [Q] T. Smyczek (USA) 46 63 60
[Q] R. Harrison (USA) d A. Kuznetsov (RUS) 63 61
B. Coric (CRO) d I. Dodig (CRO) 57 64 62
S. Querrey (USA) d [WC] F. Dancevic (CAN) 76(5) 64
G. Dimitrov (BUL) d Y. Sugita (JPN) 57 76(5) 64
K. Anderson (RSA) d V. Troicki (SRB) 76(4) 63
[WC] S. Diez (CAN) d K. Edmund (GBR) 36 63 62
M. Youzhny (RUS) d S. Robert (FRA) 63 76(6)
Doubles – First Round
G. Dimitrov (BUL) / S. Wawrinka (SUI) d L. Pouille (FRA) / D. Thiem (AUT) 46 76(2) 12-10
T. Berdych (CZE) / R. Stepanek (CZE) d F. Martin (FRA) / J. Sousa (POR) 61 36 11-9
All photos by Nida Alibhai
Rogers Cup, Montréal, July 24, 2016 – On Sunday, Tennis Canada announced that Serena Williams is withdrawing from Rogers Cup.
The world no.1 holds three Rogers Cup titles and reached the semifinals at the last two editions of the event.
“Due to inflammation in my shoulder, I unfortunately must withdraw from the Rogers Cup. I was looking forward to competing in Montreal and I look forward to returning soon,” said Serena Williams.
“Of course, we are disappointed that Serena will not play in the tournament this year. The fans really enjoyed the time she spent in the city in 2014,” said Eugène Lapierre, tournament director of Rogers Cup presented by National Bank. “Because this is an Olympic year, the players have very full schedules. Sometimes your body needs rest. We hope that Serena will recover quickly and wish her much success for the rest of the season.”