The ATP World Tour moves on to Canada in week 32 for the first of the back-to-back Masters 1000 tournaments in the run up to the US Open.
We start with the Rogers Cup, which this year is being held in Toronto at the Rexall Centre, where conditions are considerably slower than in Montreal, where Rafael Nadal landed the title last year.
There’s no Nadal this year, as the Spaniard is out injured and a doubt to defend his New York title, but there’s still a stellar cast list for this grand old tournament and we kick off on Monday with 13 men’s matches to consider.
Play starts from 16:00 UK time today, with live coverage provided in the UK by Sky Sports and it’s one of those days where there seem to be quite a few possibilities to mull over.
Last time they played the Rogers Cup in Toronto in 2012 there were six underdog winners from the 16 first round matches and one with a great chance begins at around 18:30 UK time today.
Tim Smyczek vs Tobias Kamke
This looks like it could be one of this year’s round one underdog winners, with the American coming back into form now after a period of recovery after injury.
The head-to-head of 3-0 in favour of Kamke here has probably tipped the odds in the German’s favour, but all of those matches were from at least four years ago and much has changed since then.
I’m not impressed by Kamke’s 9-17 record on hard courts in North America at tour level and up and prior to beating the soon-to-be-retired Michael Llodra last night he’d lost his last three to mediocre opposition.
Losses to Victor Estrella, Yen-Hsun Lu and Denis Istomin don’t read too well and Smyczek always performs better in this part of the world than anywhere else.
The 26-year-old from Milwaukee has won three of his five matches this hard court swing and lost only to Richard Gasquet and Marinko Matosevic and his win over Jeremy Chardy was impressive in Washington.
Kamke has never won a match in the main draw at the Rogers Cup and there’s enough in this to side with Smyczek at 2.08.
Peter Polansky vs Jerzy Janowicz – Live on Unibet TV
Canadian wildcard Polansky will be determined to do well in front of his home crowd in this one and he has a shot of at least causing problems for JJ, whose wretched season shows few signs of improving.
Last seen on a tennis court losing in straight sets on clay in Bundesliga to world number 277 Victor Crivoi, Janowicz can’t be confident in his first match on a hard court since week 14.
Indeed, Jerzy hasn’t won a single match on an outdoor hard court since two scratchy wins over Pablo Andujar and Jordan Thompson at the Australian Open and his year has been blighted by a foot injury.
His last tour match was a heavy defeat to Alex Dolgopolov on clay in Hamburg and there must be doubts over his condition as well as his confidence.
Polansky has beaten and taken sets off big servers, with wins over Jack Sock and Lukasz Kubot and deciding set losses to Kevin Anderson, Milos Raonic, Sam Groth and Albano Olivetti on his record.
The 26-year-old has beaten Jurgen Melzer, Kubot and Lukas Lacko at this tournament and the slower conditions in Toronto won’t favour JJ, who has never played a match at this venue before.
Polansky is almost certain to be the more determined of the two here and 1.78 about the Canadian +1.5 sets or the 2.75 about him winning set one both look decent choices here.
Elsewhere, I quite like the idea of backing Julien Benneteau with a 1.5 set start against Lleyton Hewitt, who has done very little on a hard court since Brisbane, while the over 22.5 total games appeals in the John Isner/Ivan Dodig clash.
Dodig hasn’t played singles since the French Open, but he played doubles last week and his biggish serve should take the match past the overs mark.
Back Smyczek to beat Kamke at 2.08
Back Polansky +1.5 sets to beat Janowicz at 1.78