Allez Jo! The big headline on Thursday surrounded the world number one, Novak Djokovic, who was knocked out of the Rogers Cup by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 6-2 6-2. Although some saw it coming after Djokovic was on court for two hours and 40 minutes against Gael Monfils, this scoreline is just crazy. Novak doesn’t lose matches, 6-2 6-2. EVER. Djokovic has owned Tsonga for the past couple of years, winning their last seven matches and 18 consecutive sets. Djokovic heads onto Cincy where I fully expect him to bounce back. Quarter-finals for the Rogers Cup are on Friday…
1. Andy Murray v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (ATP Montreal, QF)
There is a huge opening at the top of the draw for either Andy Murray or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to snap up in Toronto after the early exit of Novak Djokovic. Tsonga defeated Djokovic, 6-2 6-2 in just 63 minutes. Djokovic was incredibly flat and devoid of intensity, but as bad as Djokovic was, Tsonga played a freaking good match and the best of his entire year. Murray didn’t need to take to the court on Thursday as his third round opponent, Richard Gasquet, pulled out with an abdominal injury. He was in fine form though on Wednesday, needing just 54 minutes to beat the hugely promising Nick Kyrgios.
This is a really huge match for two players who have struggled in 2014. Murray’s been rebuilding after the back surgery. His Grand Slam performances have actually been solid this year (two quarter-finals and one semi-final); however he hasn’t beaten a top ten player in 2014. Tsonga was also not 100% at the start of the year and was still getting over the knee injury that ruined the second half of his 2013 campaign. He’s looked exceptionally flat and lacking in confidence through many of his matches this year. He played well at Wimbledon and it’s refreshing to see him come back to some form. Tsonga on his A-game is the best and has been sorely missed. Murray leads the H2H 9-1 with Tsonga’s only win coming all the way back in 2008 at the Australian Open. Their last match took place in Miami earlier this year where Murray won 6-4 6-1. Tsonga left the building in the second set.
Beating Djokovic is a huge deal. To take out Djokovic and Murray at the same tournament with the year he has had would be pretty staggering for JWT. Tsonga proved on Thursday that it’s not all about the head-to-heads, but I fancy Murray to carry his dominance and reach the semi-finals.
Prediction: Murray d. Tsonga in 2 tight sets
2. Grigor Dimitrov v Kevin Anderson (ATP Montreal, QF)
Thursday was a day of surprises in Canada, so much so that Stan Wawrinka‘s defeat got lost in the swirling madness that is tennis with losses also for Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova. Wawrinka lost to Kevin Anderson in two sets, 7-6(8) 7-5. This wasn’t a hugely surprising result since Anderson defeated Wawrinka earlier this year at Indian Wells. I only watched the last few games so my analysis may have been inaccurate, but he was standing way behind the baseline and didn’t look to have a great deal of confidence in his backhand. Anderson will play Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals. It still feels rather odd to be seeing Dimitrov in the quarter-finals of a Masters 1000 and not really be surprised by it. He nearly blew it against Tommy Robredo as he couldn’t convert on a 4-1 second set lead, needing three sets to get the job done, 7-5 5-7 6-4.
Dimitrov leads the H2H with Anderson 4-1; their last match was a stunning final in Acapulco, which Dimitrov won, 7-6(1) 3-6 7-6(5) to win his first ATP 500 title. Anderson’s a really solid player and I was very impressed when I got to watch him play live against Murray at Wimbledon. Dimitrov’s got a touch more flair and has become a pretty good match player this year. Anderson’s no pushover, but I’d take Dimitrov to come through.
Prediction: Dimitrov d. Anderson in 3 sets
ATP Toronto Quarter-Final Predictions
Milos Raonic d. Feliciano Lopez in 2 very tight sets
Roger Federer d. David Ferrer in 2 sets