Thursday, 28 July 2016

Rio nearing - and no Roger !

It's hard to judge the performances of players competing in Toronto and Montreal this week.  For the men, the Masters event in Toronto is one of nine in a points scoring class second only to the four Grand Slam tournaments, and points from it must be included in a players overall total. This means Andy Murray will score zero as he has bypassed Canada this year.  Last year he won and scored 1000 points (it was held in Montreal as the two cities rotate hosting duties) Because of the Olympics, Canada is scheduled earlier in 2016, but in the wash up Murray will lose ground to Djokovic who was beaten by the Scot in the 2015 final but is contesting as top seed in Toronto.

The Premier 5 WTA tournament in Montreal is also in a category just one tier below the majors, and would normally attract the steadfast focus of the top players.  The Wimbledon and Roland Garros champions had originally entered the tournament as the number one and three seeds but Serena Williams and Garbine Muguruza both withdrew after the draw was published.

Questions have to be raised about the timing of these events right on the doorsteps of the Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.  The focus of many clearly is split between the task at hand and the prospect of representing ones country at an Olympics - a chance that may come only once in a career.  
For Roger Federer, injury has robbed him of his probably last tilt at a medal for Switzerland, and the tennis world will be without him for the remainder of the year.  Career ending may be too severe a call, but no bigger challenge has been presented to Federer, especially when his comeback from serious injury will be at age 35.

After three rounds in Montreal, the seeds have survived apart from:
Carla Suarez Navarro (8) defeated by 121 ranked Slovakian Kristina Kucova, after leading by a set
Dominika Cibulkova (11) smashed by Canadian Eugenie Bouchard to the thrills of the locals - Slovakia a win and a loss but not the way it was expected.
Samantha Stosur (14) once leaving the clay, rediscovered her inconsistency, and Russian teenager  Daria Kasatkina, now ranked 33, won in straight sets.

One of the semi finalists will come from either Varvara Lepchenko (who as lucky loser took Serena's place in the draw), Kukova, Bouchard or Stanford winner Johanna Konta.  You could have been given long odds on that before the tournament.

Kerber, Radwanska and Halep lead the way as the tournament enters the final sixteen.

In Toronto, 11th seed Nick Kyrgios didn't have Rio on his mind as an excuse because he is not going, but he still lost to 17 year old Canadian wild card Denis Shapovalov, ranked 370 in the world.
Other seeds to fall in round one were Benoit Paire (14) and Steve Johnson (15). 9th seed John Isner was felled in round two by fellow American Ryan Harrison who had to fight through qualifying to make the main draw.  13th seed Lucas Pouille also failed to pass the second round, ousted by 118th ranked American Rajeev Ram.  Ivo Karlovic served 20 aces on his way to defeating 8th seed Marin Cilic to make the final 16, and 6th seed Dominic Thiem surrendered to a hip injury when down 1-4 in the first set to Kevin Anderson.

Djokovic, Wawrinka and Nishikori all safely gained entrance to the round of sixteen.

No comments:

Post a Comment