2018 Preview: Rogers Cup

July 2, 2018 12:00 PM
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Where: Aviva Centre at York University, Toronto (ATP); IGA Stadium, Montreal (WTA)

When: Aug. 4-12 (Toronto); Aug. 3-12 (Montreal)

Defending champions: Alexander Zverev (men’s singles), Elina Svitolina (women’s singles); Pierre-Hugues Herbert-Nicolas Mahut (men’s doubles), Ekaterina Makarova-Elena Vesnina (doubles)

Tournament websites: http://www.rogerscup.com/ (ATP); www.couperogers.com/en/ (WTA)

History

An ATP Masters 1000 and WTA Premier 5 event, the Rogers Cup is the third-oldest tournament in the world, debuting in 1881 at the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club. One of tennis’ most unique tournaments, it features both a men’s and a women’s event held simultaneously in two different cities – one in Montreal and one in Toronto – with host sites alternating every year. This year, the men will play in Toronto, while the women will compete in Montreal.

Past Rogers Cup champions include Andre Agassi, Bjorn Borg, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rod Laver, John McEnroe and Rafael Nadal among the men, and Margaret Court, Steffi Graf, Justine Henin, Martina Hingis, Martina Navratilova, Simona Halep and Serena Williams among the women.

Ivan Lendl holds the record for most Rogers Cup men’s singles titles at six, while Chris Evert and Monica Seles hold the most Open era women’s titles with four apiece. Robert Bedard (1958) and Faye Urban (1969) were the last Canadian winners in both singles events.

2017 Recap

The kids were alright in last year’s tournament, as Alexander Zverev and Elina Svitolina – then just 20 and 22 – claimed the men’s and women’s singles titles, respectively.

Teenage wild card Denis Shapovalov also stole the show in his home country with a dream run to the semifinals. The then-18-year-old’s third-round upset of Rafael Nadal was the match of the tournament, as the fan favorite won a third-set tiebreak to deny Nadal the opportunity to reclaim the world No. 1 ranking.

“Shapo” also knocked off Juan Martin del Potro in round two before ultimately falling to Zverev.

The German champion defeated Roger Federer in the final to claim the second of his three career Masters titles, rising to the occasion with an impressive display of power and precision in a 6-3, 6-4 victory. 

Seeded fourth in the tournament, he survived a match point against him in round two opposite Richard Gasquet before eliminating the Frenchman in a third-set tiebreak. The second set against Gasquet was the only one Zverev dropped in the tournament.

On the women’s side, Svitolina defeated four WTA Top 10 opponents on her way to her third Premier 5 title of the year. The Ukrainian marched past Venus Williams, Garbiñe Muguruza, Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki en route to the trophy. She dropped just one set in the tournament, to Muguruza in the quarters, before her 6-4, 6-0 final victory over Wozniacki.

2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens, who entered the draw via a protected ranking, also served notice in Toronto, as she made the first breakthrough of her injury comeback. 

In the doubles finals, men’s champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut won a third-set super-tiebreak over Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig, while the top-seeded duo of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina defeated Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke, 6-0, 6-4. The Russian women did not drop a set in four matches as they repeated as Rogers Cup champs.

2018 Preview

After missing the 2017 event through injury, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka all figure to be in the mix this summer at the prestigious event, alongside past champions Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

Since his 2017 title, defending champion Zverev has ascended to the No. 3 spot in the ATP world rankings. He will face a tall task in defending his ranking points from last year’s run against what promises to be a star-studded field.

Svitolina has also risen as high as No. 3 in the world since winning last year’s event, a career-high ranking she first achieved after reaching the fourth round of the 2017 US Open. 

Serena Williams, who missed out on the 2017 Rogers Cup while pregnant with her first daughter, will likely be among those trying to stop the Ukrainian from winning this year’s title.

All four reigning Grand Slam women’s singles champions – Stephens, Wozniacki, Halep and Muguruza – competed in last year’s event and are expected to be in the mix once again this summer.

Fun Fact

Prior to 2011, the men’s and women’s events were held on two separate weeks in July and August, though Toronto and Montreal have alternated hosting the men’s and women’s events since 1980.

 

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