Apart from Wimbledon and US Open tournaments, Rogers Cup at Canada has a longer history than any other Tennis tournament in the world. Currently sponsored by National Bank, the prestigious annual event is organized by Tennis Canada since 1881 for men and 1892 for women. The tournament is classified as a Masters 1000 event on the ATP World Tour schedule and offers more than US $3 million in prize money and attracts the biggest stars. This year, however, Roger Federer is not playing at Montreal and Maria Sharapova is conspicuous by her absence at Toronto. The two cities of Montreal and Toronto share the task of hosting the ATP and WTA events in alternation and the two Canadian tournaments are played in tandem as virtually combined events. On the first day at Montreal, Gael Monfils and his compatriot Gilles Simon entered the second round by defeating their Italian opponents Fabio Fognini and Andreas Seppi in that order. At Toronto Venus Williams lost in the first round against Germany’s Sabine Lisicki and Italy’s Flavia Pennetta defeated Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski.
No. 15 seed Gael Monfils of France had an easy passage in the second round with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Italian Fabio Fognini in 63 minutes. Both Monfils and Fognini couldn’t deliver more than 55 per cent of their first serves but the difference was created by Monfils, who converted 4 out of 5 break opportunities that came his way. Fognini, on the other hand, earned six break-point chances but Monfils saved them all. It was a non-descript match but Monfils held the edge. For the Italian, it was the first match after he entered two clay court finals recently and at Hamburg last week he lost to Rafael Nadal in the title game. But the faster hard court of Montreal affected his rhythm. Monfils’ second round opponent will be Gilles Muller of Luxembourg. Muller won his first round match 6-2, 6-3 against Canadian wild card Philip Bester. Muller didn’t drop his serve against Bester and broke the Canadian’s service twice in first and second sets.
Monfils’ compatriot Gilles Simon also beat an Italian in his first round match. Playing against Andreas Seppi, the ninth seeded Simon broke Seppi’s serve twice in the first set that lasted for 42 minutes. Simon continued with his good show in the second set and broke the Italian one more time to win at 6-2, 6-4. Simon’s second round opponents will be decided after the match between Russian Mikhail Youzhny and Serbian Viktor Troicki.
In Monday’s other matches at Montreal, Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil defeated Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas 7-6, 4-6, 7-6; USA’s Donald Young beat compatriot Denis Kundla 6-3, 6-4; Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic beat Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz 6-4, 7-6; American Sam Querrey defeated Slovakia’s Martin Klizan 6-3, 6-3; Australia’s Bernard Tomic defeated Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-3, 6-3 and Spanish veteran Tommy Robredo got past compatriot Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. The match between Defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Croat teenager Borna Coric could not be completed due to rain with Tsonga leading 2-1 on his serve in the first set.
In Toronto, only two singles matches were played, in which Sabine Lisicki of Germany defeated USA’s Venus Williams 6-0, 6-3 and Italy’s Flavia Pennetta defeated Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski 6-4, 6-1. Serena Williams, who won the Rogers Cup in 2001, 2011 and 2013; will begin her campaign on Tuesday with the match against Pennetta, whom she last defeated in the 2014 US Open quarterfinal.