Tuesday was a story of two disparate brackets at the 2016 Rogers Cup, as the seeded women mostly advanced with ease, while the men spent their day struggling.
No. 14 seed Benoit Paire and No. 15 seed Steve Johnson bowed out in their first-round matches, while fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych needed three sets to move on. Stan Wawrinka and Gael Monfils were the only two men seemingly at the top of their game.
The women's side did not feature one upset, with most of the seeded stars going over without incident. Madison Keys, Johanna Konta and Simona Halep each wound up advancing in straight sets. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova needed three sets but was able to battle back against Yulia Putintseva.
|Rogers Cup Results|
|(2) Stan Wawrinka def. Mikhail Youzhny||7-6 (3), 7-6 (8)|
|(5) Tomas Berdych def. Borna Coric||4-6, 6-1, 6-4|
|(10) Gael Monfils def. Joao Sousa||6-3, 6-3|
|(13) Lucas Pouille def. Emilio Gomez||6-7 (8), 6-4, 7-5|
|Radek Stepanek def. (14) Benoit Paire||6-1, 6-3|
|Fabio Fognini def. (15) Steve Johnson||6-4, 6-4|
|(5) Simona Halep def. Daria Gavrilova||6-2, 6-3|
|(10) Madison Keys def. Elena Vesnina||6-4, 6-0|
|(11) Dominika Cibulkova def. Mariana Duque-Marino||6-2, 6-2|
|(14) Karolina Pliskova def. Kateryna Bondarenko||3-6, 6-2, 7-5|
|(15) Johanna Konta def. Shelby Rogers||6-4, 6-2|
|(16) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova def. Yulia Putintseva||6-4, 1-6, 7-5|
The two biggest upsets of the day went to Radek Stepanek and Fabio Fognini.
Stepanek was dominant throughout in taking down Paire, advancing with a 6-1, 6-3 romp. The 37-year-old, who needed to qualify for the event, saved six break-point chances. Paire double-faulted five times, giving Stepanek a chance to convert on four of his 10 break opportunities.
TennisNow commented on the win:
Fognini earned a hard-fought win over Johnson, with the American's second-serve struggles sending him home early. Fognini broke Johnson just three times, but it was enough to make the difference in a 6-4, 6-4 win.
Things went far better toward the top of the bracket, with Wawrinka and Monfils earning straight-set victories. Wawrinka struggled a bit in his 7-6 (3), 7-6 (8) win over Mikhail Youzhny, just barely getting over 50 percent of his first serves in play. The No. 2 seed needed to save four of six break points while only forcing four of his own.
Arash Madani of Sportsnet commented on Wawrinka's brilliance:
Monfils had no trouble in his 6-3, 6-3 win over Joao Sousa. He blasted eight aces and took advantage of Sousa's eight double-faults to advance.
"I mean it was by my mistakes, and then it was just basically trying to get used to the conditions because they were quite different," Monfils said, per the Associated Press (via the Herald). "I was just really trying to be patient with myself. Trying also to look for the opportunities. And that's what paid off."
On the women's side, Pavlyuchenkova provided the only interesting match of the day in her three-set win over Yulia Putintseva. Pavlyuchenkova advanced thanks to saving seven of 13 break points against her.
Karolina Pliskova also needed three sets to take down Kateryna Bondarenko but was able to win the final two and advance.
Overall, it's looking like we'll be waiting until the later rounds for the best in the world to go head-to-head before the fireworks start going in Toronto.
Full bracket available here.