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Rogers Cup Montreal 2015 draw preview: Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal could clash in Canada Masters semifinals

Hannah Wilks in News 8 Aug 2015
Andy Murray has a tough draw at the 2015 Canada Masters (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal could clash in the semifinals of the 2015 Rogers Cup with defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also in that half of the draw – we break down the draw for Montreal’s Canada Masters, to be held 10-16 August. 

The build-up to the US Open begins in earnest as the fifth Masters 1000 Series event of the year takes place in Montreal, this season’s location for the ATP World Tour’s half of the Rogers Cup.

While the best in women’s tennis take to the courts in Toronto, where Jo-Wilfried Tsonga last year went on a stunning run to capture the Rogers Cup title, eight of the ATP World Tour’s top ten players will be battling it out in Montreal, including former champions Novak Djokovic (2007, 2011-12), Andy Murray (2009-10) and Rafael Nadal (2005, 2008, 2013).

The withdrawal of Roger Federer, who has opted not to play, has bumped Murray up to second seed while French Open champion Stan Wawrinka and 2014 US Open runner-up Kei Nishikori round out the top four seeds.

Top quarter

Projected quarterfinal: Novak Djokovic (1) vs Tomas Berdych (5) (19-2)
Novak Djokovic may have fallen victim to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s stunning run to the title in 2014, but the man who has won two of the Grand Slams and four of the five Masters events so far in 2015 must be the hot favourite for the title in Montreal.

Returning to action for the first time since winning Wimbledon, the top seed opens against Thomaz Bellucci or Pablo Cuevas – two clay-court specialists – and could meet the slumping Grigor Dimitrov or Jack Sock, whose recent form hasn’t impressed, in the third round. Djokovic hasn’t always played his best tennis at this part of the season, but his draw doesn’t exactly look dangerous and he will surely reach the semifinals: The newly-wed Tomas Berdych has a smooth path to the quarterfinals (he is 12-0 against probable third-round opponent Kevin Anderson) and Berdych has lost his last six matches against Djokovic.

Semifinalist: Djokovic

Second quarter

Projected quarterfinal: Stan Wawrinka (3) vs Milos Raonic (8) (4-0)
Another of those top players in action for the first time since Wimbledon, French Open champion Stan Wawrinka has never played very well at the Canada Masters – his best result was a quarterfinal appearance (2011) in eight appearances – and with a dangerous draw added to Wawrinka’s general inconsistency, an early exit for Wawrinka would not be a surprise.

The third seed will open against either Fernando Verdasco or Nick Kyrgios, who will contest the pick of the opening-round matches, and could face John Isner – a semifinalist at the Rogers Cup in 2012, and a player who generally performs well at this time of the season – in the third round.

An early exit for Wawrinka would be good news for home hope Milos Raonic, whose season has been derailed recently by injury. Raonic doesn’t have an easy path either, however: Big-serving Ivo Karlovic is likely to be his first opponent, and Wimbledon semifinalist Richard Gasquet, who was runner-up at the Rogers Cup in 2012, lurks in the third round. This would be a good quarter for a surprise semifinalist to emerge.

Semifinalist: Isner

Third quarter

Projected quarterfinal: Rafael Nadal (7) vs Kei Nishikori (4) (7-0)
This tournament is where we find out whether Nadal’s decision to return to clay and play Hamburg in a transparent bid for confidence has paid off. The world no. 9 was struggling with a shoulder injury which affected his serve speed, which will hurt him much more on hard courts if he isn’t over it in Montreal, but otherwise things look sunny on planet Rafa. 

Opening against either a local wildcard or Sergiy Stakhovsky, Nadal could meet Gilles Simon – who has given him trouble in the past, at times – in the third round but that’s the only real fly in this week’s ointment as far as Rafa is concerned. Kei Nishikori, Nadal’s projected quarterfinal opponent and the nominal headliner of this quarter, has not only never won a match against Nadal (although he’s come close, as we know), but he’s in the semifinals of Washington, D.C. at the time of writing and his body doesn’t always stand up well to playing back-to-back weeks. He also could have to contend with the in-form Steve Johnson and the always dangerous Sam Querrey just to make the quarterfinals.

Semifinalist: Nadal

Fourth quarter

Projected quarterfinal: Marin Cilic (6) vs Andy Murray (2) (3-10)
Andy Murray’s return to the courts didn’t go as planned last week in Washington, D.C. when he suffered a shock loss to Teymuraz Gabashvili despite serving for the match, and the world no. 3’s fans will be hoping he isn’t running out of steam after a stellar first seven months of the season.

Murray, who is expecting his first child in February with wife Kim, has been handed an extremely difficult draw as well. He will open against either Tommy Robredo – who pushed Murray all the way in not one but two finals last year (remember the infamous double middle-finger salute in Valencia?) – or the very tricky Feliciano Lopez, so there is little time to find his feet, and either Gael Monfils, Fabio Fognini or Gilles Muller, all of whom pose a challenge for different reasons, could await in the third round.

Reigning US Open champion Marin Cilic is at the top of this quarter, but his presence is likely to be somewhat eclipsed by that of charismatic defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, whose stunning and wholly unexpected run to the Rogers Cup title last year – beating Djokovic and Murray on the way – is still fresh in our minds. Tsonga has had a typically Tsongean season so far, spending part of it injured, the rest of it not looking like a threat and then reaching the French Open semifinals, so it’s even more difficult to know what to expect from him this week than it usually is. He opens against teenage talent Borna Coric and could meet Cilic in the third round, so it’s not unimaginable for Tsonga to come through if someone takes out Murray early.

Semifinalist: Tsonga


Rogers Cup tennis is live from Montreal from 10-16 August and will be available to watch online. 

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Rogers Cup Montreal 2015 draw preview: Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal could clash in Canada Masters semifinals

Breaking down the draw at the 2015 Canada Masters as Novak Djokovic and defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lead the Rogers Cup field

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