Emma Raducanu’s US Open title defence preparations suffer another blow as she loses to Camila Giorgi in the National Bank Open first round.
Emma Raducanu’s US Open title defence preparations suffer another blow as she loses to Camila Giorgi in the National Bank Open first round.
As Serena Williams suggests she is set to retire, BBC Sport looks at the biggest moments from her iconic career.
Matteo Berrettini made his National Bank Open Presented by Rogers debut on Tuesday, but Pablo Carreno Busta ensured it was a short one.
The Spaniard, who lost against Berrettini in straight sets in the fourth round of this year’s Australian Open, avenged that defeat with a 6-3, 6-2 victory in the first round in Montreal.
Berrettini is working his way back from March right hand surgery, which has limited him to just four tournaments since Indian Wells. Covid-19 also forced him to miss Wimbledon.
Carreno Busta took full advantage with a ruthless display of consistent aggression. The Spaniard prevented his opponent from finding a rhythm without risking too much himself. After securing a second service break in the second set, the 31-year-old let out a big roar knowing the finish line was in sight.
In a battle of former Top 10 players in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Carreno Busta did not face a break point to triumph after one hour and 17 minutes. The six-time ATP Tour titlist will next play #NextGenATP Dane Holger Rune or Italian qualifier Fabio Fognini.
Tuseday’s action has begun at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers in Montreal, following a delay at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Canada due to rain.
Play began at 12:26 p.m. local time (EST) in Quebec, where 11th seed Matteo Berrettini is in action on Court Rogers against Pablo Carreno Busta. Wild card Vasek Pospisil is looking to channel the support of his home fans on Court Central, where the Canadian is taking on Tommy Paul. Before the weather intervened, both matches had been scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. local time.
Rain also interrupted Monday’s schedule in Montreal, where a packed Tuesday roster will see last week’s Washington champion Nick Kyrgios start his campaign against Sebastian Baez on Court Central. That match will be followed by 10th seed Taylor Fritz’s first ATP Head2Head meeting with former World No. 1 Andy Murray, while other seeded players in action include Hubert Hurkacz, Cameron Norrie and Gael Monfils.
Fresh off a three-week training block and his first title of the season in Los Cabos, Daniil Medvedev is poised to carry his momentum to Montreal for the National Bank Open presented by Rogers, where he is the defending champion.
“I made a great preparation block of three weeks and worked a lot physically, because we know that the end of the season is never easy and I want to be 100 percent ready. I managed to feel great in Los Cabos,” Medvedev said at the weekend.
“I’m in great confidence right now. I played good matches (in Mexico). I feel very confident and I feel good for the next tournaments.”
The North American hard-court season is where the World No. 1 has played his best tennis. He enters this week boasting an 11-3 record at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Canada, where he reached the final in 2019 (l. Nadal) and won the title last year in Toronto (d. Opelka).
In the coming weeks Medvedev will try to defend his title at the US Open, where he took out Djokovic in the championship match to capture his maiden Grand Slam. Before he gets to New York, he knows that two big tournaments are at stake and he expressed the importance of having a strong month in North America.
“I’ve always played well at the US Open when I played well in the previous tournaments. It’s always important for me to build my confidence. Last year, I won in Toronto, semi-finals in Cincy…The year I won Cincinnati, I was in the final here in Montreal. I want to play well here, it’s very important.”
Montreal’s top seed is striving to capture his fifth Masters 1000 title, a victory that would help him fend off competitors who are coming for the World No. 1 Pepperstone ATP Ranking. Medvedev, 20-5 on hard courts this season, is already looking at the math.
“There are 4,000 points left for everybody to win in these three tournaments (Montreal, Cincinnati, US Open). That’s the maximum you can get. I would be happy to get the maximum. That’s what I’m going to try to do. But that’s tough.”
A former Nitto ATP Finals champion, Medvedev is fifth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, and has the chance to climb to fourth this week.
“I know in the Race (To Turin) Rafa is far ahead. I guess Carlos is also quite far. That also can change. It’s not something that is bothering my mind, but for sure I want to get a lot of points.”
The 14-time tournament winner’s opening match will be against Washington champion Nick Kyrgios, who is riding a seven-match winning streak and is gleaming with confidence.
Tennis great Serena Williams has suggested she is set to retire, saying she will be “evolving away” from the sport after the US Open.
Serena Williams admits she sees “light at the end of the tunnel” of her tennis career, but maintains she is motivated to continue competing after earning her first win of 2022 at the National Bank Open in Toronto.
Even Matteo Berrettini is surprised that, some five years after making his ATP Tour debut, he had yet to play the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers.
“I’m really looking forward to playing my first match here,” said the 26-year-old Italian ahead of Tuesday’s opener against Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta. “I always joke with my team that I never had the chance to play here.”
Be careful what you wish for. Beyond the 23rd-ranked Carreno Busta lies potential matchups with the likes of Dane Holger Rune and perhaps even countryman Jannik Sinner.
“In a way, you should expect that in a 1000 like this all the matches are really tough,” said Berrettini, No. 14 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. “The tricky part is going to be my first opponent. Pablo is a great player. It’s also a new tournament for me. Until you step on the court, you don’t really feel the atmosphere and everything. I’m curious about it.”
Berrettini topped Carreno Busta in their only previous encounter earlier this year in the Round of 16 at the Australian Open, winning, 7-5, 7-6(4), 6-4.
It hasn’t been an easy year for Berrettini. After Indian Wells, he sustained an injury to his right hand that necessitated surgery, forcing him to withdraw from the clay-court swing. Then, just when he was rediscovering his momentum — nine straight wins and back-to-back titles in Stuttgart and London — he tested positive for COVID-19 and was ruled out of Wimbledon.
“I started to think it was like a prank or something, a joke, because I was feeling pretty good,” said Berrettini. “It was really tough…I was by myself. I was quarantined. There wasn’t anybody to hug or watch a movie with. It was just me in my room trying not to think about what would happen, think about the future.”
In the end, Berrettini says he used the time to recharge and mentally prepare himself for the North American hard-court summer.
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Nick Kyrgios recently spoke of that “small window” of opportunity that comes part and parcel with a deep, second-week run at a major, that sudden locker-room swagger that can win you matches before you’ve even stepped out onto the court.
As the surging Canberran heads into the National Bank Open, he’s thrown that window wide open, sash and all.
A first-time Grand Slam finalist at 27, the Wimbledon runner-up is playing the most inspired tennis of his career. In addition to his exploits at SW19, where he became the first unseeded entrant to reach the final since countryman Mark Philippoussis in 2003, he notched consecutive semi-finals in Houston, Stuttgart and Halle, and on Sunday snapped a three-year-long title drought via a 6-4, 6-3 triumph over Yoshihito Nishioka in Washington. He also became also became the first player in the tournament’s 53-year history to sweep the men’s singles and doubles (with Jack Sock) in the same week.
“I felt like I was one of the best players in the world this year by far,” said Kyrgios, who opened 2022 at No. 93 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, but has since jumped to No. 37. “I feel like I have really kind of reinvented myself this year.”
When the Montreal draw was released, all eyes went to a potential second-round convergence between Kyrgios and the reigning World No. 1 and defending champion Daniil Medvedev, who last week bagged a title of his own in Los Cabos. But for that to come to fruition, Kyrgios will first have to get past promising young Argentine Sebastian Baez on Tuesday.
Kyrgios claimed their only previous encounter, a 6-4, 6-0 opener earlier this year in Indian Wells, but the 21-year-old Baez has since gone on to a career-high No. 31, claiming his first ATP title in Estoril (def. Frances Tiafoe, 6-3, 6-2) and reaching the final in Bastad (l. to countryman Francisco Cerundolo, 7-6(4), 6-2).
It’s already been a memorable summer for Brit Cameron Norrie, who in July punched through to his first major semiifinal at Wimbledon, and as the defending champion again reached the Los Cabos final (l. to Medvedev, 7-5, 6-0). Now one spot behind his career-high No. 10 ranking, the former Texas Christian University standout will look to break new ground on Canadian soil, where he has yet to advance beyond the second round.
Norrie will open his campaign when he takes on the talented 21-year-old Brandon Nakashima for the second time in a matter of weeks, having topped the American in the Round of 16 in Eastbourne, 6-4, 6-2, to up his ATP Head2Head advantage to 2-1.
Like Norrie, the former University of Virginia star Nakashima broke new ground at Wimbledon when he advanced to the fourth round of a major for the first time, and followed that with consecutive quarter-finals in Atlanta and Los Cabos.
It’s been nearly a decade-and-a-half since 13th seed Marin Cilic made his National Bank Open debut. The two-time quarter-finalist, 33, will open against Borna Coric in an all-Croatian affair on Court 9. He’s a spotless 7-0 versus his compatriot, his most recent win coming in the second round of this same event in 2018. A Roland Garros semi-finalist, Cilic returns to the court after sitting out Wimbledon due to Covid-19.
For the second year in a row at the National Bank Open, Canada’s Vasek Pospisil finds himself matched up against Tommy Paul in the first round. The home favourite hopes to exact revenge from a 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3 loss to the American in that encounter, their only other meeting at the tour level.
Fellow Canadian wildcard Alexis Galarneau is matched up against 15th seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria. American Frances Tiafoe and Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi will go head to head for the second time in 2022, Tiafoe having claimed a tight 7-5, 7-5, 7-6(5) first-round win at Roland Garros.
Other notable matches on the schedule include: Gael Monfils vs. Pedro Martinez, and Newport champion Maxime Cressy vs. Aslan Karatsev, as well as the continuation of the rain-called Denis Shapovalov vs. Alex de Minaur affair, deadlocked at 3/3 in the second-set tiebreak. Originally scheduled for Monday, the much-anticipated match between Andy Murray and Taylor Fritz will kick off the night session on Centre Court.
Daniel Evans and John Peers beat the rain on Monday at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers to down Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 4-6, 6-3, 10-5.
The British-Australian team completed their comeback with a dominant performance in the Match Tie-break, capitalising on a 4/0 lead to close out the victory. After dropping serve three times in the opening set, the pair claimed the lone break of the second as they turned the match around.
Evans/Peers will next face fifth seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic or the French team of Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.
In the only other doubles match to be completed on Monday, Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz and Jan Zielinski scored an upset win against sixth seeds Tim Puetz and Michael Venus.
In a 6-3, 7-6(4) victory, the unseeded pairing dominated the opening set then recovered a mid-set break in the second before taking the final three points of the tie-break from 4/4. The Polish duo converted three of six break chances, including two as they opened up a 5-1 lead in the first set.
They will next face either Karen Khachanov and Denis Shapovalov or Rohan Bopanna and Matwe Middelkoop, with their matchup set for Tuesday.
Two other opening-round doubles matches are scheduled for Day 2 in Montreal, including Wimbledon champions Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell taking on Grigor Dimitrov and Andrey Rublev.
Karen Khachanov earned every bit of his 200th tour-level singles win on Monday at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers. After splitting two sets of razor-thin margins against Francisco Cerundolo, the 26-year-old powered through the decider in a 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-3 victory.
The World No. 28 improved to 200-154 with the result, hitting 22 winners and five aces in the two-hour, 43-minute contest. Khachanov was six of nine on break chances and claimed the only break of the final set in its fourth game. After moving ahead 3-1, he dropped just two points on serve the rest of the way, closing out the win with a love hold.
A two-time semi-finalst at the ATP Masters 1000 event (2018-19), Khachanov earned his first ATP Tour win in St. Petersburg in 2013 and rose to a career-high of No. 8 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in 2019. He won three of his four tour-level titles in 2018, including his trophy triumph at the Rolex Paris Masters.
His best result of 2022 is a run to the Adelaide-1 final in January. Now at 26-18 on the season, he will next meet Marin Cilic or Borna Coric in the second round.
In one of the marquee opening-round matchups in Montreal, Alex de Minaur was four points away from victory against home favourite Denis Shapovalov when heavy rain stopped play for the day. The Australian took the opening set 7-5 with a break in its final game, then clawed back an early break in the second to force a tie-break, which is knotted at 3-3.
Atlanta champion De Minaur is seeking his first win in his third appearance at the Canadian event, as well as his first win against a Canadian opponent (0-7). Shapovalov, who was firing up his home crowd throughout the match, is seeking to improve upon a 1-8 run in his last nine matches since defeating Rafael Nadal in Rome.