Rogers Cup, Montreal Masters 2009 Draw Released: First Take

Xeno-philous F Correspondent IAugust 7, 2009

The draw has just been released for Montreal Masters 2009, which begins Monday. All top 20 players are in the draw, except David Nalbandian, who has been sidelined due to hip surgery.

No. 1 and two-time Rogers Cup champion Roger Federer is seeded as the top player in the Men's Singles draw, followed by defending champion Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, and Novak Djokovic.

As Murray is in the same half as Federer, their possible semifinal encounter is already raising curiosity and excitement of drama. The other half measures equally, with Nadal and Djokovic, whose potential quarterfinal opponent is Andy Roddick, for the third time on hard court this year. 

Federer's path to the quarterfinal does not look difficult. He will meet Stanislas Wawrinka, Nicolas Kiefer, or Radek Stepanek in the third round. However, in the quarterfinal, Gilles Simon or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga could pose a threat to Federer. Keep in mind that Federer leads Tsonga 1-0 but trails Simon 0-2 in head-to-head (H2H) meetings. Simon eliminated the Swiss in R32 last year in Canada.

In the second quarter, Murray may encounter Stuttgart winner Jeremy Chardy, who has game, before he could face Juan Carlos Ferrero or Gael Monfils in the third round. In the quarter will be waiting Fernando Gonzalez, Tommy Haas, Ivo Karlovic, or Nikolay Davydenko.

In the bottom half, before facing Roddick in the quarter final, Djokovic will have to get past Marin Cilic or Mikhail Youzhny or John Isner, who replaced the French Open finalist Robin Soderling, as the Swede withdrew in the last minute, due to elbow injury. The American, who has been playing the best tennis of his career since 2003, should cruise past Dmitry Tursunov or Igor Andreev in the second round, but Fernando Verdasco, on his best day, could prove to be too hot to deal with in the third round.

A Djokovic-Roddick match could be one of the highlights, if both play at the top of their game. Roddick has to prove that his Wimbledon performance was for real, and Djokovic has to show that he is still one of the top four players.

The final quarter is packed with big talents. Nadal's opening round match against David Ferrer cannot be called easy for the No. 2, especially after the sabbatical hiatus. “I will do the best I can to get a good result,” said Nadal. “When you play, you always try to give a hundred percent. [However] I’m prepared to lose as well.”

While Nadal's third round match against Tommy Robredo or Sam Querrey may not pose a big hurdle, Juan Martin del Potro or Philipp Kohlschreiber, or Tomas Berdych, could derail the Spaniard in the quarter.

Among the first round matches to watch are Kohlschreiber vs. Berdych, Youzhny vs. Cilic, and Marat Safin vs. Monfils

This draw definitely allows Federer (with Simon and Murray), Nadal (with del Potro and Soderling), and Djokovic (with Roddick) an opportunity to avenge their past losses.

In summation, many will agree that it will not be completely shocking if both Federer and Nadal do not make it to the final. It is even possible to imagine the winner from outside the top 10, like in 2002, when unseeded 19th-ranked Guillermo Canas won.

As the stakes are high for both, a Nadal vs. Murray final could be as equally and dramatically exciting as a Federer vs. Nadal final. If four of the top six seeds reach the semifinals, they could very much rival the final's thriller.


Other Tidbits

In an interview with the New York Times, Federer confirmed his decision to play in Montreal: “Mirka went through a check yesterday. The babies have been at the hospital for 10 days, and everything is perfect. So we’re doing it. Big family. Big trip. On the bandwagon. I’m really excited to see how we’re going to manage it.”

Federer flew in a private jet with a baby nurse on board. Before Federer left for Montreal on Friday, he was with Mirka for nearly three weeks at the hospital, sleeping in the same room, before and after the babies were born. Last week, in the midst of all this, he managed time to practice tennis with Stefan Koubek for six straight days near the hospital.

“I was sometimes very tired, don’t know if it was more from practice or from not getting the sleep you usually get,” he said.

Federer posted the first picture of the twins on his Facebook.

ITF has appealed Richard Gasquet's doping case, who was earlier cleared for having unintentionally taken cocaine by kissing a woman in a nightclub, so he is not in the Rogers Cup draw.