The title contenders at the sixth ATP 1000 event of the year have all powered their way into the quarter-finals at the Roger’s Cup in Montreal, Canada. The world number one Novak Djokovic, second seeded Andy Murray, Washington D.C. winner Kei Nishikori, the Spaniard Rafael Nadal and the defending champion Jo Wilfred Tsonga all won in straight sets. They have been joined by the 16th seeded American John Isner, and the unheralded Ernests Gulbis of Latvia and the Frenchman Jeremy Chardy who was the days only winner to take three sets to advance.
Three time champion Djokovic routed the American Jack Sock 6-2,6-1, while two time champion Andy Murray took advantage of a fatigued Giles Muller winning 6-3,6-2. Another three time winner at this event Rafael Nadal ended the run of the qualifier Mikhail Youzhny with a clinical 6-3,6-3 win to set up a fascinating duel against Japan’s Kei Nishikori who continued his impressive form with a 6-4,6-4 win over Belgium’s David Goffin. Tsonga, who won the 2014 edition in Toronto beat the Australian Bernard Tomic 7-6(7), 6-3 to set up a mouth watering quarter-final against Murray.
John Isner, the runner up at the Citi Open in Washington D.C. last week silenced another Australian Nick Kyrgios 7-5,6-3. The temperamental Aussie was fined an undisclosed amount following his unwarranted comments aimed at the Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka on Wednesday. The only two unseeded players featuring in the last eight are the Latvian Ernest Gulbis who beat the left handed American Donald Young 6-4,6-4, while the stylish Frenchman Jeremy Chardy beat the giant serving Croat Ivo Karlovic 4-6,7-6(1),6-4.
The line up for the quarter-finals with my picks mentioned first alongwith the head to head record is as under :-
Novak Djokovic (1) v. Ernests Gulbis ; Djokovic leads 5-1
John Isner (16) v. Jeremy Chardy ; Chardy leads 3-0
Kei Nishikori (4) v. Rafael Nadal (7) ; Nadal leads 7-0
Andy Murray (2) v. Jo Wilfred Tsonga (10) ; Murray leads 15-2.
Both Djokovic and Murray became the first to record 50 match wins in 2015 with their wins on Thursday. Djokovic is 50-3, Murray 50-8 for the year. Djokovic plays the qualifier Gulbis who will have a mighty task to reach his first semi-final of the year against the top seed who has already won six titles in 2015. John Isner and Kei Nishikori should finally end their winless run against Chardy and Nadal respectively. The other marquee match up apart from the Nishikori v. Nadal quarter-final features the second seed Murray against the defending champion Tsonga in a rematch of last months Davis Cup quarter-final at Queen’s Club between Great Britain and France.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: email@example.com]