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Novak Djokovic has won the last two editions of the Rogers Cup men’s singles and the world number one has what it takes to win the Masters 1000 event for the third year in a row.
UK bookie, Stan James are offering odds of around 2.63 that Djokovic, resuming after his loss to British hoodoo breaker Andy Murray in the Wimbledon men’s singles final, wins in Canada against a quality field that all the big names except Roger Federer. The 17-time Grand Slam singles champion had a bad back and he is resting it ahead of the upcoming US Open.
Djokovic’s odds may not be all that inviting at first glance but the Rogers Cup men’s singles draw has done him several favours and hurt the prospects of the player with whom it would be have been otherwise interesting to get involved.
Drawn in the Rogers Cup men’s singles top quarter, Djokovic holds all the aces against both his possible second-round foes, Florian Mayer and Bernard Tomic, having not dropped a set to either player in a competitive match. Djokovic’s Serb compatriot, Janko Tipsarevic is in total awe of his Davis Cup colleague, while Richard Gasquet has yet to defeat Djokovic on a hard court. Djokovic looks booked for the semi-finals, where is he most likely to face Rafael Nadal.
Nadal has been handed a favourable Rogers Cup men’s singles draw as well. The second quarter contains two Canadian wild cards and a bunch of qualifiers. Nadal has not lost a set in his 10 matches against Stanislas Wawrinka so the Swiss does not hold any fears for the Spaniard, although Jerzy Janowicz may trouble both stars if his serve fires up. The question about Janowicz concerns the health of his right arm.
The Rogers Cup men’s singles third quarter is the weakest, containing David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych, Nicolas Almagro and Gilles Simon. Ferrer is the world number three because he is consistent in beating the second-tier players but he has an appalling record against the likes of Djokovic, Murray and Nadal. It is as if Ferrer does not believe that he can beat them and that is certainly how it looks in those matches.
The Rogers Cup men’s singles bottom quarter is the one that, unfortunately, means that Djokovic is the tournament bet at 2.38. Like Djokovic, Murray is appearing for the first time since Wimbledon but the second seed finds himself having to get out of a section featuring Juan Martin Del Potro, Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic to qualify for the last four.
Not that Murray was the Rogers Cup men’s singles competitor on which one should have been keen. No, that honour goes to Del Potro, who came from behind to defeat big-serving John Isner 3-6 6-1 6-2 in the Citi Open men’s singles final last week. Sadly, Del Potro finds himself on a collision course with home hero Raonic and the Canadian is far from the only strong player in the section. Whoever emerges from this bit of the draw will have earned their place in the semi-finals but, troublingly for punters, it could be one of many men.
While Montreal is hosting the Rogers Cup men’s singles, the Rogers Cup women’s singles is taking place in Toronto. There will be no shortage of takers for Serena Williams at odds 1.91 at BoyleSports to win this event for the third time following successes in 2001 and 2011. Williams has a 51-3 record this year, with her three losses coming versus Viktoria Azarenka in Doha, Sabine Lisicki at Wimbledon and Sloane Stephens at the Australian Open. Williams sustained an injury against Stephens and she choked versus Lisicki, going down despite winning more points – 99 to 96 – than her German opponent.
Betting on any women’s singles tournament requires one to back or lay Williams. The Rogers Cup provides a chance to play away from the favourite. The bottom half of the draw has been weakened by the withdrawal of Azarenka – she has problems with her back – and left open the door for Na Li, who represents an each-way proposition at odds of around 15.00 (BetVictor). Li made the final 12 months ago and the other seeds below the fold are Angelique Kerber, Petra Kvitova and Caroline Wozniacki. Kvitova is the defending champion but her 2013 form is not up to that of Li, who gets the nod.