Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews the 2018 Rogers Cup.
Welcome to Montreal for the 2018 Coupe Rogers and the start of the lead-up to the US Open.
Or wait, are you in Toronto for the men’s edition of the Rogers Cup?
In either case, you’re in for a treat, a joint edition of a “pretty big deal” kind of tournament, one that’s not really joint since it’s held in two cities five hours apart but sure run with it, and one that leads directly to another similar «pretty big deal» tournament before it’s time for the big pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the US Dang Open.
But before this big prize, we’re in Montreal, or we’re in Toronto, and we’re having a whole lot of fun for the 2018 Rogers Cup. As we’ve usually done in the past in this space, let’s see if we can predict how both draw’s might unfold.
Quarterfinals: Maria Sharapova over Simona Halep; Angelique Kerber over Karolina Pliskova; Naomi Osaka over Garbine Muguruza; Caroline Wozniacki over Victoria Azarenka
Semifinals: Angelique Kerber over Maria Sharapova; Caroline Wozniacki over Naomi Osaka
Final: Caroline Wozniacki over Angelique Kerber
The women’s draw is really pretty loaded if we’re entirely honest. We have the usual 16 seeds, the first eight of whom have a bye as usual, but it’s with the wild cards that the draw differentiates itself from others: we have Victoria Azarenka and Eugenie Bouchard, who used to be a big deal as well, and it would be even more impressive but for a last-minute Serena Williams withdrawal.
Simona Halep lords over the top section, and the main draw as well, but she’ll have to earn any round past the third one—so much so that we feel like the quarterfinals might be all she can manage. The second section is likewise loaded but maybe a little bit so: our main question is whether Angelique Kerber will be able to replicate her Wimbledon success on the hard courts. The lower section is a free-for-all and good luck predicting winners in there: we have Naomi Osaka and Caroline Wozniacki emerging from the pack but your guess is as good as ours.
Quarterfinals: Rafael Nadal over Marin Cilic; John Isner over Denis Shapovalov; Kevin Anderson over Frances Tiafoe; Hyeon Chung over Alexander Zverev
Semifinals: Rafael Nadal over John Isner; Kevin Anderson over Hyeon Chung
Final: Rafael Nadal over Hyeon Chung
Other than for Roger Federer and Andy Murray, there’s basically no one missing in the men’s draw, which should make for a compelling and competitive tournament.
In the top section, Rafael Nadal is the clear favourite but we wouldn’t mind seeing how successful a motivated Nick Kyrgios would play in Toronto. Still, the nod goes to the Spaniard. All eyes will be on Denis Shapovalov (including ours) in the second section, who will face a ton of pressure to recapture the magic that led him to make the Montreal semifinal (!) a year ago. For the lower half, we’re predicting absolute chaos and two quarterfinals between a seeded player and a youngster. Of course, this could all be for naught: Hyeon Chung somehow plays Novak Djokovic in a titanic first-round matchup.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG