Rafael Nadal might not be thinking too far ahead in the Rogers Cup but it is interesting to see he’s got a very tough draw at the competition.
Nadal, who has a first round bye like most other top seeds, will face either Jared Donaldson or Benoit Paire in his second round match. He’s played Donaldson just once before in his career, at the Shanghai Masters last year and dropped just three games to win that encounter.
Against Paire, that record is even a better 3-0, but all those three wins came on clay, a surface on which Nadal hasn’t lost too many matches.
The difficulty for Nadal, however, mounts after that second round match as he could end up playing Stan Wawrinka or Nick Kyrgios in the third. Interestingly, Wawrinka takes on Kyrgios in their opening round match, with the Swiss player having dropped off to such a low rank that he needed a wild-card to feature in the competition while firebrand Kyrgios is the 16th seed.
One of Kyrgios or Wawrinka will take on the winner of the Joao Sousa-Marton Fucsovics encounter in round two, with the winner of that match possibly facing Nadal in the third round.
If Nadal comes through his third round match and the other seeds in his quarter of the draw also win their respective matches, then he would meet either Diego Schwartzman or Marin Cilic. The last time Nadal and Cilic played against each other, the Croatian world number six had won that encounter at the Australian Open.
In his semi-final, Nadal could be up against Juan Martin del Potro, John Isner, Fabio Fognini or Pablo Carreno Busta, all of whom are seeded, in his half but not in his quarter of the draw.
The other half of the draw consists of players like Grigor Dimitrov, Kevin Anderson, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Novak Djokovic, all of whom will be gunning for the title when they possibly play Nadal in the final.
Nadal, on his part, is looking at only his opening match for now. He said:
“I cannot think about Wawrinka, Kyrgios, Joao (Sousa) before playing Benoit or a qualifier. I know the first round is going to be a tough battle. But watching the full draw doesn’t distract me from being focused on that first round.”
“I like to see the confrontations that are in the first round. There are a couple of very interesting ones in my opinion, and that’s it.”
“I always take it match by match, that’s what I’ve done all my life.”
Here’s Rafael Nadal’s Possible Entry to the Rogers Cup Final:
Round 1: Bye
Round 2: Jared Donaldson or Benoit Paire
Round 3: Stan Wawrinka or Nick Kyrgios
Quarter-Final: Marin Cilic or Kyle Edmund or Diego Schwartzman or Sam Querrey
Semi-Final: John Isner or Juan Martin del Potro
Final: Novak Djokovic or Alexander Zverev or Dominic Thiem or Kevin Anderson or Grigor Dimitrov