Scouting Report: Medvedev Leads The Way In Montreal, Alcaraz Makes Debut
The world’s best return to ATP Masters 1000 action this week as the ATP Tour visits Montreal for the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers.
World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev leads the field in Quebec, where he is seeking to defend the crown he won in Toronto in 2021. Carlos Alcaraz chases his third Masters 1000 title of the season and is the second seed on his Canadian Masters 1000 debut, while Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov will look to channel the support of their home fans.
ATPTour.com looks ahead at 10 things to watch in Montreal.
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1) Medvedev Seeking More Canadian Success: Medvedev captured the title when the Canadian ATP Masters 1000 event was played in Toronto last season. With the action set to take place in Montreal this week, the 26-year-old will look to maintain his strong hard court record and clinch his 13th title on the surface. The top seed, who advanced to his first Masters 1000 championship match in Montreal in 2019, could face Wimbledon finalist Nick Kyrgios in a blockbuster second-round clash if the Australian overcomes Sebastian Baez in the first round.
2) Alcaraz Makes Montreal Debut: #NextGenATP Spaniard Alcaraz will make his debut in Quebec as he looks to build on his standout season. The 19-year-old lifted Masters 1000 trophies in Miami and Madrid earlier this season and arrives in Canada off the back of runs to clay-court finals in Hamburg and Umag. The second seed, who currently sits at a career-high No. 4 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, will face American Tommy Paul or Canadian wild card Vasek Pospisil in his opening match.
3) Tsitsipas, Ruud Make Hard-Court Returns: Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud have traditionally produced their best tennis on clay courts in recent years, having earned 12 titles on the surface between them. However, Ruud showed strong hard-court pedigree earlier this season when he reached the final in Miami, while the Greek Tsitsipas has won four titles on hard courts, including the Nitto ATP Finals crown in 2019.
Both will be aiming to quickly find their groove in Montreal as they prepare to compete on hard for the first time since April in Miami. Third seed Tsitsipas, who reached the semi-finals in Toronto last year, will face a qualifier in his first match, while fourth seed Ruud takes on Slovakian Alex Molcan or American Mackenzie McDonald.
4) Felix & Shapo Carry Home Hopes: The duo that led Team Canada to ATP Cup glory in January return home for another shot at ending the wait for a home champion at the Canadian Masters 1000 event. Auger-Aliassime, who clinched his maiden tour-level in Rotterdam in Feburary, is making his second appearance in Montreal, having advanced to the third round in 2019. Shapovalov has fond memories on home soil after he upset Rafael Nadal during a dream run to the semi-finals on debut in 2017. Sixth seed Auger-Aliassime begins against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka or a qualifier and Shapovalov takes on Atlanta champion Alex de Minaur.
Felix Fantastic To Clinch ATP Cup For Canada
5) Three-Time Champ Murray Takes On Fritz: Andy Murray will look to regain momentum when he takes to court at an event he has tasted so much success at. The former World No. 1 captured the title in Montreal in 2009 and 2015, while he also triumphed in Toronto in 2010. The Scot faces a tricky opener in Canada, though, with 10th seed Taylor Fritz awaiting in the first round.
The American has enjoyed a strong season, highlighted by his maiden Masters 1000 title in Indian Wells. The 24-year-old, who is on the cusp of cracking the Top 10 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, will be looking to advance beyond the first round in Canada for the first time when he takes on Murray in their first ATP Head2Head meeting.
6) Can Red-Hot Kyrgios Maintain Form?: Nick Kyrgios will arrive in Quebec in red-hot form, having backed up the run to his maiden Grand Slam final at Wimbledon by advancing to the semi-finals in Washington, where he is still competing for the title. The Australian, who is making his fourth appearance in Montreal, holds a 25-7 record on the season (entering the Washington semi-finals) and will look to improve that further when he plays Baez in the first round.
7) Rublev & Sinner Look To Build On Recent Success: Andrey Rublev has lifted three tour-level titles this season and is in strong form, having advanced to the semi-finals in Washington last week. The 24-year-old is seeking his maiden ATP Masters 1000 crown this week and will begin against Daniel Evans or Filip Krajinovic. After clinching four titles in 2021, Italian Jannik Sinner returned to the winners’ circle in Umag last month, defeating Alcaraz in a thrilling final on clay. The 20-year-old will be keen to build on his recent success in Montreal, where he faces a qualifier on debut.
8) Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin Heats Up: With the ATP Tour season ticking into August, the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin has started to heat up. With Auger-Aliassime currently occupying the last qualification spot in eighth, Fritz, Hubert Hurkacz, Matteo Berrettini and Cameron Norrie will be looking close the gap and increase their chances of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals in November.
The 11th-placed Hurkacz reached the quarter-finals in Toronto last season and begins against former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka or Emil Ruusuvuori, with 12th-placed Italian Berrettini starting against Pablo Carreno Busta. Great Britain’s Norrie is 13th and has won two tour-level hard-court titles this season. The 26-year-old will play Brandon Nakashima in the first round.
9) #NextGenATP Stars In Action: Dane Holger Rune and American Nakashima will look to boost their hopes of qualifying for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals for the second consecutive year when they make their debuts in Quebec. The 19-year-old Rune is fourth in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Milan and will open against a qualifier, while seventh-placed Nakashima plays Norrie. Nakashima has enjoyed strong results in North America, reaching finals on hard in Los Cabos and Atlanta last season.
10) Ram/Salisbury Lead Doubles Field: Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury will lead the doubles field as the top seeds as they seek to retain their title in Canada, having triumphed in Toronto last year. However, the American-British tandem will face stiff competition from second seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos and third seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski. Granollers and Zeballos lifted the trophy in Montreal in 2019 and are four-time Masters 1000 titlists, while Koolhof and Skupski have won a Tour-leading five titles this campaign.