Can Andy Murray capitalise on his recent Olympic Gold Victory at Wimbledon or will Djokovic and co stop him in his tracks? With Nadal still out from injury and Federer resting after the Olympics he may be in with a shout.
Following a dramatic
week of Olympic tennis action, the world's top players have moved over to Toronto this week as the
hard court swing gets underway.
Rafa Nadal is still missing through injury
and will be concerned by a lack of match practice ahead of the US Open, and
Roger Federer sits this one out following an intense week of Olympic action. This leaves Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray
as the top two seeds for this event. Djokovic comes in as the defending champion
having won here in his first tournament since becoming world no.1 12 months
ago but has he ran out of steam?
Having reached the final at Wimbledon and won the Olympic gold medal last Sunday,
there's little question that it's Andy Murray who arrives as the man bang in
form. Interestingly, the tennis bookmakers have the British no.1 priced up at
3/1, which seems like great value, for the no.2 seed at an event where Nadal
and Federer aren't in contention.
In truth, Murray is sure to be tiring a little here and
he does have a tough path ahead if he's to come through and win this event. The
Scot showed no signs of an Olympic hangover in easing to a comfortable 6/1, 6/3
victory over Flavio Cipolla in his opener, however the difficulty levels will
raise quickly as he is set to face home favourite, Milos Raonic in the next
round, followed by possible match-ups with John Isner and Tomas Berdych. Murray
has proven he is capable of beating the very top names on the tour, so neither one of these challenges
would ordinarily pose a major concern, but coming on the back of such a busy
summer and with the US Open his main priority, the 3/1 on offer may look like
great value but could be worth avoiding here.
Last year's Rogers Cup winner, Novak
Djokovic is currently going through what for him must seem like a massive slump
in form. The Serb did not make it to the final at Wimbledon or the Olympics and
will be worried that his last three defeats have come against Nadal, Federer
and Murray.The hard court season should see Djokovic
move back to the head of that list in terms of form, but we're yet to see how
much of a knock his confidence has taken following the recent defeats.
A fully firing Djokovic would more than
likely stroll through to the final here. The draw has favoured him immensely and
having come through against Australian, Bernard Tomic in straight sets, he will
now face the likes of, Querrey, Stepanek, Granollers and Tipsarevic on his way
to the final. None of those men should be able to stop the world no.2, which
makes it easy to see why he's currently the 6/5 favourite in the tennis
With Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Juan Martin Del
Potro both losing in their opening matches, a gulf in class has opened up
between the top two seeds and the rest of the field. Canadian, Milos Raonic is currently the
third favourite for success at odds of around 10/1, but with Murray coming up
in the next round, followed by a succession of tricky looking opponents if he
does come through that, it's not easy to see Raonic going all the way.
In terms of tennis picks, the real value would appear to be in
backing Tomas Berdych. Berdych has had a dreadful summer having been defeated
in the opening round of both Wimbledon and the
Olympics. The slump cannot go on forever though and if he can just make it
through the early rounds here, he may find himself coming up against Andy
Murray just at the right time. They're currently looking destined to meet in
the quarter-finals and Berdych will feel confident of taking advantage of
fatigue, should he get the opportunity. Berdych can currently be backed at
around 17/1 and looks like great value.
Elsewhere, Mardy Fish will be hopeful of
progressing deep into this event and he reached the final here last year. He is
priced at around 20/1 along with his compatriot, John Isner. Both men can do
well here and Isner himself reached the final of the first US hard court masters event of the
year, at Indian Wells.
If he stays well motivated, there's no
question that Novak Djokovic should make the final and therefore he'd have to
be my pick for the event as it's not so easy to pick who may come through on
the other side of the draw. If it is Andy Murray, then it'll be fascinating to
see Murray v Djokovic in the final, and at that
point we may well find that Murray
was the favourite when looking at the live tennis odds.