Rogers Cup in Toronto and Montreal

This week sees the start of the Rogers Cup in Toronto and Montreal, Canada, featuring both the men’s and women’s game. What was initially looking like a strong line up for each event, both have been hit by some withdrawals, most notably that of Rafael Nadal and Li Na. Two time major winner Na has been forced to pull out of both the Rogers Cup and US Open with Nadal out for two to three weeks, putting his US Open place under threat.

However, rather then seeing this as a disappointment, the withdrawals could open the series up completely, making for a close, well fought contest right the way up to the US Open itself. Last year, Nadal took the US Open series by storm, winning in Montreal, Cincinnati and of course Flushing Meadows. Meanwhile, the withdrawal of Li Na, along with that of Yvonne Meusburger, has given an opportunity to America’s Alison Riske. Further good news for US tennis sees four American players receiving wildcard entries in to the Western and Southern Open, with Jack Sock, Steve Johnson, Sam Querrey and Robby Ginepri now entering the main draw for the tournament.

Following the Citi Open event last week, winner Milos Raonic now ties John Isner at the top of the men’s series standings with 70 points each. Isner was been disappointed with his performance and made reference to the fact his match was played on a secondary court instead of the main arena. Steve Johnson, his victor, also commented on how the schedule has been set for international television audiences. Nonetheless, Johnson managed to progress to the quarter final where he lost out to fellow American Donald Young, who reached his first ATP tournament semi-final for the first time since 2011. So, despite Isner’s criticism, US players featured right up to the semi-final stage of the event.

Meanwhile, Serena Williams captured her fourth title of of 2014, winning the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford and in doing so climbed to the top of the US Open Series Challenge standings with 70 points. Other US players making the current ladies standings are Varvara Lepchenko, Sachia Vickery and Venus Williams. In the men’s series, Jack Sock, Donald Young and Steve Johnson all join John Isner on the leaderboard.

Moving on to the Rogers cup, the draw for both events looks very strong indeed. With one side of the men’s draw featuring Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Grigor Dimitrov and Andy Murray, there are some very tasty matches in prospect throughout the tournament. Donald Young will be hoping to push on from his performance at the Citi Open and use the momentum to do well in Toronto.

Serena Williams will be reunited with coach Patrick Mouratoglou in Montreal, however, the American representatives have been given a tough draw with Madison Keys facing Citi Open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova in the first round and the possibility of Sloane Stephens meeting Jelena Jankovic in the second round. Serena Williams finds herself in the half of the draw that includes her sister, Venus plus Eugenie Bouchard and Maria Sharapova, a very difficult route to the final.

Having said that, tennis fans want to see the best players playing each other and they will certainly get their wish over the course of the next week. With worldwide television coverage really starting to pick up and Flushing Meadows drawing ever closer, excitement is sure to reach a new high with the worlds best on show this week.