Tennis Preview: Loaded Fields Set to Compete in Montreal, Toronto
This week, Canada is the epicenter of tennis. Both the ATP and WTA tours are hosting 1000-level tournaments with the men playing in Montreal and the women in Toronto.
Nearly all the top players are taking part in the National Bank Open as they prepare for the U.S. Open, which starts on Aug. 29.
Here’s a breakdown of the major storylines taking place on both the men’s and women’s sides to help with your tennis betting.
No Djokovic, Nadal
Nearly all the marquee names are competing in Canada this week, except for two of the top men’s players: Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic last competed in July when he recorded his seventh Wimbledon title. But because of his vaccination status, he is not allowed to enter Canada to compete this week.
It’s the fourth major tournament he is missing for not being unvaccinated following the Australian Open, BNP Paribas Open and Miami Open. The United States has a similar vaccination policy for foreigners, which puts his U.S. Open participation in jeopardy.
“I am preparing as if I will be allowed to compete, while I await to hear if there is any room for me to travel to the US,” Djokovic tweeted on July 30.
Nadal remains out because of the abdominal injury that forced him to withdraw from the semifinals of Wimbledon. He provided an update on his health to Tennis Canada.
“I have been practicing for a while now without serving and started with serves four days ago,” he said. “Everything has been going well. However yesterday, after my normal practice, I felt a slight bother on my abdomen and today it was still there.
“After speaking with my doctor, we prefer to take things in a conservative way and give a few more days before starting to compete. I would like to thank Eugene, the Tournament Director, and all his team for understanding and supporting me and this decision.”
Potential Round 2 Men’s Showdown
Even without Djokovic and Nadal, it’s still a loaded field in Montreal. World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev is the favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook to win the title (3.6), while two of the top young players on tour have the shortest odds with Carlos Alcaraz at 5.5 and Jannik Sinner at 11.0.
There is a potential marquee second-round matchup that could take place between Medvedev and Wimbledon finalist Nick Kyrgios (12.0). Medvedev has a bye, while Kyrgios will need to defeat Sebastian Baez to set up the showdown. Kyrgios holds a 2-1 lead over Medvedev but Medvedev won their last meeting at the Australian Open earlier this year.
Both Medvedev and Kyrgios enter in solid form. Medvedev, the defending U.S. Open champion, won the Los Cabos title last week without dropping a set, and Kyrgios took the Washington championship on Sunday while not having his serve broken. Kyrgios is in the midst of one of the best stretches of his career, posting an 18-3 record in singles and having won 11 of his last 12 matches.
Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime has the sixth-best odds to win the Montreal tournament at 19.0. Auger-Aliassime went 2-1 in Los Cabos, losing to Cameron Norrie in the semifinals at his first hardcourt tournament this summer.
Big Names on Women’s Side
It’s a stacked field on the women’s side in Toronto, headlined by French Open winner and world No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who is the favorite to win the tournament at 3.5. Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur and French Open finalist Cori Gauff are tied for the second-best odds at 13.0. Wimbledon champion, Elene Rybakina, is 19.0 to win the event.
Two-time U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka (17.0) is playing in just her third tournament in four months this week. Osaka made it to the second round in San Jose last week, losing to Gauff in two sets as she continues to work herself into a regular playing schedule.
But the biggest draw this week in Canada will be the return of Serena Williams. The 23-time Grand Slam champion takes the court today in just her second singles match in over a year. Williams lost in the first round at Wimbledon to Harmony Tan and is now preparing for a run at the U.S. Open.
Canada has been a successful stop for Williams in the past. She’s won the National Bank Open three times and holds a 34-5 record at the event, including a 27-3 record in Toronto specifically. Williams is 29.0 to win this year’s tournament.
Canada’s Leylah Fernandez, who made the U.S. Open final last year, is 26.0 to win in Toronto. This week will be Fernandez’s first match since suffering a foot injury during the quarterfinals of the French Open. The No. 14-ranked Fernandez could meet Swiatek in the third round.
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