Canada Daily Preview: Top Names Returning from Injury Headline Monday’s Play - UBITENNIS
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Canada Daily Preview: Top Names Returning from Injury Headline Monday’s Play

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Venus Williams in Montreal this past week at media day (twitter.com/OBNmontreal)

Main draw action begins on Monday in Canada, with the women playing in Montreal this year, and the men in Toronto.  With the US Open just three weeks away, who will gain momentum going into the last Major of the year?

Nine of the top 10 male and female singles players in the world are present in both cities, with only the Wimbledon runners-up absent (Djokovic, Jabeur).  Reigning French and US Open champion Iga Swiatek is the top seed in the WTA singles draw, while newly-crowned Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz headlines the ATP singles draw.

Monday’s schedule in Montreal features four Major singles champions, and three other Major singles finalists.  The highest profile WTA match of the day is an all-American battle between Madison Keys and Venus Williams.

Men’s first round action on Monday is highlighted by two tour veterans coming back from long injury layoffs, Milos Raonic and Gael Monfils, respectively facing two top Americans, Frances Tiafoe and Christopher Eubanks.

Throughout the tournament, this preview will analyze the day’s most prominent match in both Montreal and Toronto, while highlighting the other notable matches on the schedule in each city.  Monday’s play begins at 11:00am local time in both cities.


Venus Williams (WC) vs. Madison Keys (13) – Not Before 7:00pm on Court Central in Montreal

Venus has only played 10 matches across the past two seasons, with a record of 2-8.  The 43-year-old has struggled to remain healthy the last few years, yet six weeks ago on the grass of Birmingham, she reminded us of what she’s still capable of.  Despite suffering a knee injury in the first set, she went on to defeat Camila Giorgi in an over three-hour affair, and then pushed Jelena Ostapenko to three sets in the next round.

Keys is 27-10 this season, and won a grass court title at Eastbourne.  She went on to reach the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, and has now won 11 of her last 13 matches.  Madison has an odd history in Canada: she was a finalist in 2016, but is 1-4 outside of that run.

Madison is 3-2 against Venus, and took their most recent meeting, four years ago in Cincinnati.  They also played seven years ago in Canada, with Keys winning that contest as well.  And based on recent form, Madison should comfortably prevail, though any chance to see Venus Williams on a tennis court feels special at this point of her career.


Milos Raonic (WC) vs. Frances Tiafoe (9) – Not Before 7:00pm on Center Court in Toronto

This is only Raonic’s third tournament since July of 2021, after missing nearly a full two years due to injury.  He went 2-2 on grass this season, and will now play for his first hard court victory since Miami 2021.  Milos is appearing in his country’s biggest event for the first time in four years, and while he reached a final in 2013, he’s just 12-10 here lifetime.

Tiafoe is 32-12 in 2023, with two ATP titles (Houston, Stuttgart).  And a year ago, he made a huge breakthrough in his career, with a thrilling run to the US Open semifinals.  But it’s been a disappointing summer thus far for Frances: he got thumped in the third round of Wimbledon by Grigor Dimitrov, and lost to Dan Evans this past week in Washington, in an event not far from where Tiafoe grew up.

Their only prior encounter occurred at this same tournament five years ago, with Tiafoe prevailing in three sets.  Despite Milos having the home court advantage, Frances is a considerable favorite to prevail again on Monday night in Toronto.


Other Notable Matches on Monday:

Jennifer Brady (PR) vs. Jelena Ostapenko – Just a few days ago in Washington, Brady, a 2021 Australian Open finalist, played her first match in nearly two years due to a knee injury.  Ostapenko is 27-14 on the year, having won a grass court title in Birmingham.  They have split four previous matchups.

Gael Monfils (PR) vs. Christopher Eubanks – After retiring from this same event a year ago with a knee injury, Monfils missed seven months of action.  He’s just 3-6 this season at tour level, though two of those victories came this past week in Washington.  Meanwhile, 27-year-old Eubanks is having a career-year, winning his first ATP title in Mallorca, and advancing to the Wimbledon quarterfinals, where he was just a set away from defeating Daniil Medvedev.   


Monday’s full Order of Play for the WTA is here, and the ATP is here.

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Novak Djokovic Withdraws From Masters 1000 Event In Madrid

Novak Djokovic will miss the Masters 1000 event in Madrid and will look to build up his Roland Garros preparations in Rome.

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Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the Masters 1000 event in Madrid as he aims for quality over quantity in his bid for Roland Garros glory.

The world number one has had a rough start to the season by his standards as he is yet to win a title this season after a semi-final defeat to Jannik Sinner at the Australian Open.

Djokovic was hoping a change of surface would bring a change of fortunes but the Serb was defeated in three sets in the semi-finals of Monte-Carlo.

Now it seems that result has made Djokovic rethink his schedule as the current Roland Garros champion has withdrawn from Madrid.

No official reason has been given although the news seems to be not that surprising given Djokovic’s history in the Spanish capital.

The Serb hasn’t played since 2022, where he was beaten by Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals, and has now won the title there for five years.

It looks like Djokovic will be putting his faith into more favourable conditions in Rome, which is the most similar to Roland Garros in terms of conditions.

Djokovic is a six-time champion in the Italian capital and will aim for a seventh title when he plays there on the 8th of May.

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Thanasi Kokkinakis Questions ‘Insane’ Drug Testing

Thanasi Kokkinakis has been tested three times within the last six days.

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Thanasi Kokkinakis has questioned persistent drug testing after he revealed he was tested three times in six days.

The Australian is in good form at the moment having won the Sarasota Challenger in Florida.

Kokkinakis claimed glory with a three set win over Zizou Bergs in the final as he continues to climb the rankings.

However that glory has been overshadowed by the fact that Kokkinakis has revealed he was drug tested three times within a six day period.

The world number 94 described it as ‘insane’ and it comes after Alexandre Muller complained of persistent drug testing after his recent defeats.

Doping has been a huge topic of conversations with Simona Halep losing two years of her career after testing positive after the US Open before the Court Of Arbitration For Sport shortened her case.

Kokkinakis will be hoping that this is the last time he has to deal with persistent drug testing as he continues his clay court season.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas Saves Two Match Points To Extend Winning Streak In Barcelona

Stefanos Tsitsipas survived a scare to reach the Barcelona semi-finals.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas saved two match points to defeat Facundo Diaz Acosta 4-6 6-3 7-6(8) in Barcelona.

The former finalist saved two match points against the inspired Argentinian as Tsitsipas reached the semi-finals.

It means Tsitsipas is 9-0 in the clay court season and has the chance to set up a potential rematch with Casper Ruud in the final.

The duo met in last week’s Monte-Carlo final where Tsitsipas claimed his third title in Monaco.

Speaking after the match Tsitsipas admitted it was difficult to sustain his level, “I was coming close [to losing] at certain moments in the match. It seemed like a mountain,” Tsitsipas stated to the ATP website.

“I reminded myself that I have a headband that I wear here that has a mountain and that I need to climb it, so it kept me going. It was difficult. It was extremely difficult to sustain the same level throughout the entire match and I think he played incredible.

“I think he left everything out there. He is a good clay-court player. He has a title on the ATP Tour for a reason and today it was a level he was able to bring out on the court that made it quite obvious.

“I got a little bit tense on my serve, I won’t lie. I think I started decelerating a lot, but once I got a hold of that I was conscious of that, it went back to where it belonged and helped me a lot in the tie-breaker because if I didn’t figure it out, I don’t know. It was very mental in general. I really had to go to uncomfortable places mentally and go over the limit at some point.”

Tsitsipas is currently seven in the world in the live rankings as the Greek is looking to claim his first title in Barcelona.

Next up for the Greek will be either Dusan Lajovic or Arthur Fils while Tomas Martin Etcheverry takes on Casper Ruud in the other semi-final.

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