The main draw for the Premier 5 event, Rogers Cup in Toronto is out and the draw is just… amazing. This preview will bring you through the whole draw of the tournament!
First quarter: Headlined by (1) Karolina Pliskova and (6) Caroline Wozniacki
We could see Karolina Pliskova and Caroline Wozniacki face off in the quarterfinals of the Rogers Cup for the third time this year, but first both players need to fend off their respective challenges first.
The new World No.1 Karolina Pliskova will be playing in her first tournament as the top ranked player. Will that boost her confidence, or will it add more pressure on the shoulders of the Czech, just like Angelique Kerber? We shall see. As the top seed of a Premier 5 event for the first time ever, Pliskova will now know that a top seed doesn’t guarantee a good draw. She starts off with a bye, before facing Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova or Alize Cornet in the second round. Both could prove to be a challenge for Pliskova, but she actually has a winning record against both players. She could meet Anastasija Sevastova in the third round, who leads 2-1 in their head to head record. Sevastova first has to get past Lauren Davis who has fizzled after a great start to the year.
Wozniacki has had a very solid string of results this year, having won back-to-back matches at every tournament (excluding Strasbourg where she retired). Although having reached 5 finals this year, Wozniacki has yet to win any. Will that losing streak end at the Rogers Cup? If she is to, she’ll have to be in top form to do so. Her opener will be against a qualifier, which is usually easy, but don’t forget the calibre of players we have in the qualifying draw. There’s Wimbledon semifinalist Magdalena Rybarikova, Bucharest champion Irina-Camelia Begu, hard-hitting Japanese Naomi Osaka, Ashleigh Barty and many many more. In the third round, she might play newlywed and friend Agnieszka Radwanska. Radwanska has been suffering from illnesses and injuries this year, but she seems to be finding her form as she reached the second week of Wimbledon. The Pole has a very difficult opener in CoCo Vandeweghe, who is in the semifinals of Stanford in both singles and doubles as of writing. A name to watch out is Bianca Andreescu, who made her first ever WTA quarterfinal in Washington this week. She has a winnable opener in Timea Babos.
Second quarter: Headlined by (3) Angelique Kerber and (7) Johanna Konta
Angelique Kerber and Johanna Konta could face off in the quarterfinals in this second quarter. Konta won’t want to remember what happened in their previous encounter even though she won, as she suffered a huge fall in Eastbourne with forced her to withdraw from the tournament.
This will be Kerber’s first tournament not as a No.1 (excluding Serena Williams’ short stint as No.1) since the US Open last year. She posted a very encouraging post on Instagram saying that she is working hard and will try to do her best in her upcoming tournaments which is very encouraging! Draw-wise, it hasn’t been very kind to the German at all. By the way, I’m not referring as Eugenie Bouchard as a tough draw haha. The Canadian has been struggling a lot and she is known to crumble under the home crowd so I’ll not be surprised if she exits in round 1! The tough oppponent for Angie is Petra Kvitova, who has been very dominant so far in her comeback. She looms as a potential third round opponent but has to get past the likes of Carla Suarez Navarro and Sloane Stephens/Yulia Putintseva.
Konta had a very encouraging semifinal run to Wimbledon where she beat the likes of Caroline Garcia and Simona Halep before falling pretty meekly to Venus Williams. She will hope to continue her good form but she doesn’t have an easy draw either. She either meets Nanchang champion Peng Shuai or Washington semifinalist Ekaterina Makarova in her opener. Peng has won her two recent meetings with Konta, while the Brit has won all four previous meetings with Makarova. If she gets past that hurdle, she meets Dominika Cibukova by seeding but it probably won’t happen that way as Cibulkova has struggled the whole year and the Slovak has the added pressure of defending tons of points pretty soon. Cibulkova meets Lesia Tsurenko in round one – the latter won their two most recent matches and is coming off a quarterfinal run in Stanford. Lucie Safarova is also in the mix and could make things difficult for the seeds here.
Third quarter: Headlined by (4) Garbine Muguruza and (5) Elina Svitolina
As of writing Muguruza is now on a nine-match winning streak and is into the Stanford semifinals, blasting past Kayla Day and Ana Konjuh in her last two matches. Muguruza is definitely an in-formed player and has a great chance to claim the Rogers Cup title. To do so she’ll have to get past a qualifier or Konjuh again, before potentially playing Elena Vesnina whose singles endeavors have died down after her Indian Wells triumph. Vesnina has a tough opener too in Alison Riske which is an intriguing encounter as both players possesses flat, aggressive games.
I’m guessing you haven’t heard of Elina Svitolina’s name in recent weeks as she didn’t have a really good grass court swing, except for her first second week appearance at Wimbledon where she lost to Jelena Ostapenko. It’s tough draw for Svitolina here (seriously, every top 8 seed has such a difficult draw!) as she first has to get past Daria Kasatkina or Roberta Vinci and probably will meet Venus Williams in round 3. The American is coming off a second Grand Slam final of the year in Wimbledon, producing so many glimpses of vintage Venus like ten years ago but she showed that age may be a factor as she lookef really fatigued against Muguruza in the final. If she wants to win the title she’ll need to produce energy-saving performances early on. She’ll face a qualifier in the first round then likely Katerina Siniakova in the next match.
Fourth quarter: Headlined by (2) Simona Halep and (8) Svetlana Kuznetsova
Halep should be fine for Toronto although she retired from her quarterfinal match against Ekaterina Makarova where she said she was feeling the effect of playing three afternoon matches under the 60 degrees Celsius weather. The Toronto weather may be scorching but hopefully it won’t be as hot as DC! Halep could face Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in round 2… The Croatian has beaten Halep twice in Grand Slams before so it wouldn’t come as a surprise if she wins. But first Lucic-Baroni has to defeat Madison Keys… hard-hitter vs hard-hitter, I can’t wait for this one!!! It won’t get easier for the Halep as she faces a trio of Kristina Mladenovic, Barbora Strycova or Daria Gavrilova in the last 16, all quality players.
Svetlana Kuznetsova’s quarter is another fun section to watch out for. The Russian, coming off a quarterfinal appearance in Wimbledon, faces either Washington semifinalist Julia Goerges or Stanford semifinalist Catherine Bellis in her opener. Goerges and Bellis are in great form this year and this one is another high-quality first rounder to watch. Let’s not forget Jelena Ostapenko too who could do something in Toronto.
Thoughts on the draw: I am so so excited for Toronto as you can see its such a high quality draw and there so so many exciting first and second rounders! I also am having a four day break from school so coverage from the blog from Toronto will increase. I also just got WTA TV so I can watch ALL the matches woohoo!
Back to the draw, I feel that Pliskova won’t be the one coming out of the top half to make the final. Playing in your first tournament as No.1 won’t ever be easy and her players in her section can cause loads of problems. How about Kerber? In my opinion she’ll be able to get a couple of wins this week and make the quarterfinals. I’ll pick either Wozniacki or Konta to make the final as of now – they both have been consistent this year. For both players, after second glances, I feel that they have decent draws.
How about the bottom half? This is another difficult one too. Halep has always done well in both Toronto and Montreal, but she has a tough opener. My picks to do well from here are Svitolina, Muguruza and Kuznetsova. Maybe Ostapenko could be a dark horse here…