The Canadian Open, also known as the Rogers Cup, alternates between the hardcourts of Montreal where it is played on odd-numbered years, and the slightly slower hardcourts of Toronto where it is played on even-numbered years. The tournament is an ATP World Tour 1,000 Event, and it’s therefore no surprise that the big-4 of Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Murray have won 11 of the last 12 renewals, with Tsonga winning the other one.
However, of the big-4, only Djokovic is in attendance this year (Tsonga also absent) and, as the World Number 1 won the event in 2007, 2011 and 2012, he looks to have an outstanding chance of adding a fourth Canadian Open to his CV. Some may make the point that the fact he’s not won any of the last 3 suggests this tournament may not be one of his top priorities, but he was runner-up to Murray last year and is hard to oppose even at odds of 4/6 as he’s a class apart from any of his opposition.
The Serb should sail into the quarter-finals, where likely opponent Tomas Berdych should pose little threat having lost their last eleven encounters. Djokvich is then likely to face either David Goffin or Milos Raonic, but again has little to fear as he’s 4 from 4 against the Belgian, and 7 from 7 against the, admittedly improving, Canadian.
However, there may also be some value to be had in the bottom-half of the draw in the shape of Marin Cilic, who is likely to be feeling motivated after steering Croatia to victory over the USA in the Davis Cup.
Eighth seed Cilic admittedly doesn’t have the best head-to-head record against possible quarter-final opponent Nishikori, but the Japanese player has been struggling of late due to injury, and may not be up to beating Cilic, if he even makes the quarter-finals of a tournament that is seldom on his schedule.
In the final-quarter, there may well be a surprise as sixth seed Thiem’s early season success may have left its mark in regard to fatigue, whilst Stan Wawrinka has never made any impact in this tournament so far. Either of them in prime form would be a big danger to Cilic, but both may fall earlier than the semi-finals, hopefully leaving Cilic to face a much lesser-ranked opponent on his way to the final.
Big Hitters Bet: Novak Djokovic @ 4/6 (Various Bookies)
Each-Way Value: Marin Cilic @ 33/1 (Paddy Power) 1/3 odds 2 places