Andy Murray's early exit from the Masters Series 1000 event on Tuesday was shocking. However, Wednesday's action produced an even greater shock as Rafael Nadal, the champion from the Canadian Masters in 2008, lost to Ivan Dodig of Croatia.
After taking the first set off of Dodig in their second-round match, Nadal, the world No. 2, lost two straight tiebreakers to the underdog, who won his first ATP title not long ago. Nadal's efforts in Montreal came to an abrupt end.
Murray and Nadal were both on the same half of the draw at the Rogers Cup, and that means that the championship final will feature at least one player who was not given much of a chance to win the tournament before play started this week.
Novak Djokovic is still on course to reach the final, with Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also credible threats. However, the other half of the draw only features three seeded players at this point with Mardy Fish (6th), Stanislas Wawrinka (14th) and Tomas Berdych (7th) all looking to take advantage of the weakened draw.
Of those three players, only Berdych has ever won a Master Series 1000 title (Paris 2005) although Fish has three times made the final of a Masters series event (Cincinnati 2003, 2010; Indian Wells 2008), losing in all three of those finals.
But the seeded players are not dominating players, and the unseeded players are all dangerous. Fish's half of the draw looks wide open with Ernests Gulbis, Kevin Anderson, Ivo Karlovic, Janko Tipsarevic and Ivan Dodig all capable of making the final.
Gulbis, Anderson and Dodig each have won a hard-court title this season on the ATP Tour, while Tipsy has played the best tennis of his career in 2011 despite not winning a title.
With Karlovic, his best tennis might be behind him, as he is currently ranked 125th on the tour at the age of 32. However, he is 6'10" and his ability to drive down aces on the hard-court surface makes him a potential nightmare for anyone that he comes up against.
The final for Montreal still looks like it will feature Djokovic in my opinion, but with Nadal and Murray out, whoever comes from the other half of the draw is a huge question mark. It is Fish's for the taking, as he is the highest ranked player on that half of the draw. However, each of the other seven players have to be relishing the opportunity ahead of them, and that should produce motivated tennis.
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