A stern test from a returning Rafael Nadal, as well as a confident Andy Murray, awaits defending champion Novak Djokovic faces as he attempts to capture the Rogers Cup in Montreal for a third time in a row.
Djokovic is yet to capture a hard court Masters title this year, missing out in Indian Wells and Miami, and will be hoping that his record in Canada will see him start his US Open campaign in style. He has never won in Cincinnati, and has won the Rogers Cup three times, and is the two-time defending champion.
The world No. 1 will start his campaign against either Bernard Tomic or Florian Mayer, against both of whom he enjoys an impressive record, before potentially coming up against compatriot Janko Tipsarevic. His fellow Serb has only beaten him once on a hard court, and even that was indoors, so Djokovic can expect to sail into the quarter-finals where he could meet last year’s defeated finalist Richard Gasquet.
Djokovic has the Masters pedigree here, but Gasquet will be defending finalist points from last year, when he lost in straight sets after an impressive run to the final, so will be perhaps inspired to deliver an upset.
Eyes will be on Nadal after his shock first round exit from Wimbledon, but the Spaniard has been using the time to get that injured knee ready for the punishing hard court season, and should come through his side of the draw if his knee holds up, so expect a tight semi-final between these two.
On the flip side of the draw, Murray has some tough matches ahead, but since winning Wimbledon and defeating Djokovic in straight sets, the Brit has said he can now just enjoy his tennis. Murray might trail Djokovic 8-11 on their head-to-head, but these two great friends are setting the stage for an equally great rivalry, so it would be no surprise to see them contest the final and for it to be competitive, as Djokovic will want to set down a marker for the US Open.