The Canadian Masters are under way as the top players on the ATP Tour look to gain momentum in the build-up toward the 2011 US Open.
Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Andy Murray are the top four seeds at the 2011 Canadian Masters (ATP Montreal) and as such they all received a bye through the first round of the 2011 Rogers Cup.
Djokovic, playing in his first tournament since winning the Wimbledon title in early July, is the clear favorite (Source: Stan James) to win the Masters Series 1000 event this week and he still only has one individual match loss in the 2011 calendar year. The Serb has four hard court titles already this season, including the Australian Open title and two Masters Series 1000 titles from both Indian Wells and Miami.
In what has to be considered a little bit of bad luck, Djokovic does not have the easiest of draws however, as he could face Nikolay Davydenko in the second round. The Russian's best tennis appears to be behind him but Davydenko, at his best, can challenge the best players, although Juan Martin Del Potro, a potential third round opponent for Djokovic, appears to be the greater threat.
But even with Davydenko and Del Potro so close to Djokovic in the draw, the world No. 1 has been so devastating this season that it is hard to picture him losing his quarter in Montreal. Should he do that, it might set up a semifinal against Roger Federer, the three-seed at the Canadian Masters who has a significant chunk of ranking points to defend this week as he made the final at ATP Toronto last year (l. to Murray).
Federer, however, is hardly the near-lock to make the semifinals that Djokovic appears to be with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the player who knocked Federer out of Wimbledon, a candidate to face Djokovic in the semifinals instead.
Andy Murray, the two-time champion at the Canadian Masters, is on the opposite side of the draw from Djokovic, but the Scot might be the player most likely to eliminate the world No. 1. Murray does not have an overly dangerous player in his quarter although Mardy Fish, should he make the quarters, could challenge the world No. 4 as the American has been sharp lately, having won a recent title at ATP Atlanta and having made the final at ATP Los Angeles.
Murray shares a semi with the second-seeded Rafael Nadal, the current holder of the US Open title. Nadal did make the final in Indian Wells and Miami, however that was at a time when Murray was slumping following his disappointing loss in the Australian Open final earlier this year.
By most measures ATP Montreal looks like it could showcase a rematch between the two Australian Open finalists, as Murray and Djokovic both look like strong candidates to win their halves of the draw. Should they face one another in the final, Djokovic would almost certainly be the favorite, but Murray, who beat Federer in last year's final and Del Potro in the 2009 final, has typically been a very tough player at this time of the year.
The first round matches are already underway with the high seeds to take action later this week.