Wednesday evening and already there is much drama in Montreal.
Let’s get out front on this conspiracy theory of mine – the tournament directors absolutely want Nadal in the final four of this tournament (probably the ATP, as well, as a general hope and prayer). Great for the weekend events/ratings and perhaps a chance to build this player’s confidence to contend on other hard courts in the near future. Nadal drives an audience. Still. Obviously.
Here’s a summary of the draw and some early results.
Djokovic opened with Bellucci, a tough 27 year-old Brazilian who gave the Serb a tough two-set welcome-back-to-the-tour reception. Djokovic next faces my favorite American, Jack Sock, who missed a big opportunity last week in D.C. Be that as it may, he knocked-out Dimitrov and will get a nice tennis lesson from Novak. The point is Djokovic has to face some legitimate fire-power early and often and it’s only Wednesday. At the bottom of his bracket is Berdych, already gone, beaten by 26 year-old American Donald Young. We’ll give Berdych a pass because he recently married, so he’s probably a bit smashed; nice win for the young American. But Gulbis is stalking that lower bracket, having brought the young Thiem back-to-earth in the first round and ready to tangle with Djokovic in a few days if all goes to plan. If you don’t know Gulbis’ game, tune-in. In sum, a tough little draw.
In the next bracket, Wawrinka is already gone. You read that right. He had to face Kyrgios following his R1 bye. Kyrgios, for anyone watching tennis, is a major gun slinger, who already has big results despite being only twenty-years-old. Yep, the Swiss FO champ is gone. Pretty tough draw I’d say. Next would’ve been Isner, who has bounced back brilliantly from his work in D.C., where he clearly had some physical issues. Isner having a great early NA HC season. At the bottom, the local boy Raonic is out already, as well, with Dr. Ivo doing his typical massive serve damage. Tough draw.
Next, you have the sympathy parade for Rafael Nadal at the top of his bracket. He, the seventh seed, got a Ukrainian named Stakhovsky following his bye. Not much of a challenge beyond the first set TB. Next up for Rafa: Youzhny. Wow. Is it 2008? If Youzhny hadn’t won, Nadal would have faced the ever dangerous Simon. Yes, I’m being sarcastic. If Nadal can beat the 33 year-old Youzhny, he gets Nishikori, which will be a test. Though I’m afraid the middle-aged Japanese star doesn’t scare Nadal. Nadal is 7-0 vs. Nishikori. Again, well done, Roger’s Cup. This is a weak draw, one favoring the struggling Spaniard. Horse shit if you just do a little glance at the match-ups through-out the draw.
Lastly, Cilic, at the top of his bracket, is already gone having had to face the unpredictable but dangerous Tomic. If Cilic had gotten through that, he’d be face-to-face with Tsonga, defending champ. Brutal draw. At the bottom of that is none other than Murray, Andy Murray. Murray survived a tough early match vs. Robredo who generally plays him well. If Murray can beat the big serving G. Muller (who upset Monfils), he gets Tsonga. Again, very tough draw.
I called this in my last post. Indeed, it’s happening before our very eyes.
All this to say, things happen for a reason. I’m watching you, ATP. This is crap.