ATP Rogers Cup, Montreal (Monday 6th August – Sunday 12th August 2012)
What a difference a month makes. Great Britain’s Andy Murray on Sunday demolished Wimbledon champion and my pick for the Olympic gold medal Roger Federer in straight sets, the same man who only 28 days earlier had broken the Scottish man’s heart with a crushing victory. Murray played the perfect match and inflicted the heaviest grass court defeat on Federer in his illustrious career. Murray outclassed Federer in each and every aspect of the match and must surely do wonders for his confidence and belief now that he has beaten the Swiss maestro for the first time in a five-set Grand Slam match. He couldn’t make it a double gold with victory in the mixed doubles with Laura Robson but doesn’t take any of the gloss off a truly remarkable week.
Over the pond in Washington, 6/1 outright tournament pick Tommy Haas led Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov 5-4 before play was suspended due to rain. Could be another winning selection for the BETDAQ column but quite a long way to go in that final.
The US hard court swing steps up a gear this week as the first of two back-to-back ATP 1000 events on tour takes place in Canada where defending champion Novak Djokovic will be looking to put the disappointment of leaving the Olympic Games in London empty handed behind him. At this stage Roger Federer has already announced his withdrawal from the tournament and it isn’t overly clear whether the likes of Djokovic, Juan Martin Del Potro, and Andy Murray intend to jet over to Montreal for the event, given they were all in action on Sunday. Gold medal winner Murray also had a mixed doubles match to play on the Sunday, not to mention the epic semi final match between Federer and Del Potro which lasted well over four hours. It’d be a shame for the event if some or all of the above withdrew due to fatigue but I guess not altogether surprising under the circumstances. It’s for this reason I’ll take the unusual step of overlooking the aforementioned trio and look elsewhere in the draw for a likely winner. It obviously goes without saying that if either or all of Djokovic, Murray, and to an extent Del Potro take part, I’d possibly reconsider the stakes involved.
There can’t be many fresher players in the draw than Czech Tomas Berdych. Following his first round defeat to Ernests Gulbis at Wimbledon last month, Berdych took to the court for the first time since that very defeat. In remarkably similar fashion, Berdych was once again dispatched in straight sets on Centre Court to Belgian Steve Darcis which in my mind should mean Berdych is refreshed and eager to resume the progress he was evidently making earlier in the season, with victories against tournament winners Janko Tipsarevic, Marin Cilic, Juan Martin Del Potro and Andy Murray illustrating the point. Berdych also has three quarter final appearances to his name (2006, 2010, and 2011) at this very event which shows he’s comfortable playing here. His section of the draw looks the weakest quarter too in my opinion, the seeded players in and around him are Juan Monaco, Mardy Fish, and Richard Gasquet who are all players Berdych should be beating. John Isner, Milos Raonic, and potentially Andy Murray (if his participation is confirmed) are all lurking in the other quarter of Berdych’s half of the draw. Berdych’s recent record against Murray encourages me and if Andy decides he’s fit enough to take his place in the event, one has to feel tiredness may become a factor if he goes deep in the tournament. Isner and Raonic are also big servers who Berdych can more than match in the serve department.
Going back to Berdych’s defeats to Gulbis and Darcis at Wimbledon, I don’t actually think the Czech played too badly. The Gulbis match at Wimbledon was decided in three tie breaks that frankly could have gone either way and Belgium’s Steve Darcis played some inspired tennis at the Olympics. All in all, I rate Berdych’s chances and think if the defeats to Gulbis and Darcis on grass can be put down to a blip in what has been a fairly solid season thus far, Berdych has to have a decent chance this week.
Selection: Tomas Berdych
Follow Chris on Twitter @cdquinn86
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