The grass court season is firmly (and sadly) behind us as we move toward the final major of the season, the US Open.
The Canadian Open is one of the most important events in North America for both men and women. You may not have known that this ATP Masters 1000/WTA Premier alternates between Toronto (Rogers Cup) and Montreal (Coupe Rogers) each year. In 2019, the women are in Toronto and world no.1 Ash Barty is top seed. Wimbledon champion Simona Halep is also in the mix along with beaten finalist Serena Williams and defending US Open champ Naomi Osaka.
Unfortunately, we will not see Petra Kvitova this week as her forearm injury continues to be an issue.
Slice-and-dice queen Ash Barty may be top seed in Toronto but she has been handed a horror draw. The Aussie might have to get through Hsieh Su-Wei, Victoria Azarenka, Jo Konta and Elina Svitolina just to make the semis. With Naomi Osaka still struggling for form and Serena Williams unpredictable, I’ll go with the Wimbledon champion here.
Fresh off her second major title, Simona Halep will bring a large tennis bag full of confidence to Canada where she is a two-time champion. The 27-year-old also has a decent draw with Sloane Stephens, Aryna Sabalenka and Madison Keys the other seeds in her quarter. The way Halep’s playing, she should make it through to the last four here.
The steady Ukrainian took a break in the spring to rest a troublesome knee but now looks fit and determined as ever. The sixth seed will take huge encouragement from her semi-final run at Wimbledon, her best result yet at a major. The 24-year-old is a former champion in Canada and would love to cause a fuss in Ash Barty’s quarter. Svitolina will play Danielle Collins or Katerina Siniakova in the second round and will probably take on Belinda Bencic for a place in the quarters.
It’s not a huge surprise that the Belarusian has struggled to back up last year’s breakout season. The 21-year-old exploded into life last summer and eventually made five finals with two victories at Connecticut and the prestigious Wuhan. Sabalenka won Shenzhen at the very start of 2019 but results have been mixed since. However, the world no.10 may just have found form in San Jose where she’s made the semis at time of writing. Sabalenka is in Halep’s quarter in Toronto and could do all sorts of damage if those booming shots start hitting lines again.
Here’s another San Jose semi-finalist who has a chance to do something in Toronto. Sakkari lifted her first WTA title in April at Rabat and is hovering around her career high of 29. The powerful Greek is a resilient character and has already beaten three top 10 players this season in Petra Kvitova, Kiki Bertens and Elina Svitolina. She has been drawn in the third quarter with Karolina Plikova and Bertens, two players the 24-year-old has beaten before. If Pliskova is a little off, Sakkari can take advantage and open up the section.
*All odds correct at time of posting