Preview & Schedule: Nadal Begins Montreal Title Defence
Rafael Nadal has prevailed in Canada in his teens, 20s and 30s, but now looks to accomplish a first for him at this event: successfully defending his title. The top seed and defending champion starts his week off at the Coupe Rogers in Montreal by facing British qualifier Daniel Evans on Wednesday.
“When I get to a tournament, I try to work on my things and work on my game,” said Nadal. "There are many great players here, so I have to just prepare myself as soon as possible and be ready for the action."
Nadal arrives with a 34-8 record in Canada and has reached at least the quarter-finals in seven of his past nine appearances at this event. The four-time champion faces a tough opening test against a resurgent Evans, who finished runner-up this February in Delray Beach (l. to Albot) and has climbed 140 spots in the ATP Rankings this year.
Second-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem kicks off his week against home favourite Denis Shapovalov. Thiem won their lone FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting last year in Acapulco and arrives on a wave of confidence after taking the title last week in Kitzbuhel (d. Ramos-Vinolas).
But the #NextGenATP Canadian thrives on playing in Canada and specifically in Montreal. Shapovalov’s semi-final run two years ago saw him defeat Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro, and he’ll look to create more Montreal magic on Court Central.
“He's definitely going to be very confident right now. He's coming off a win. It's always tricky to play a guy that's full confidence, that's won a lot of matches under his belt,” said Shapovalov. “I'm just going to try to go out there, enjoy myself, put up the best fight I can. I think I do have a chance to win this match. I really believe it.”
Fourth seed and 2018 runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas looks for another big week in Canada when he meets rising Pole Hubert Hurkacz. The #NextGenATP Greek leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Hurkacz 3-0, including victories this year in Marseille and Dubai. Tsitsipas used his Toronto run 12 months ago as a springboard to his current career-high ATP Ranking of No. 5.
Fifth-seeded Japanese Kei Nishikori looks to close the gap in his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Richard Gasquet. The Frenchman leads their series 7-3, but Nishikori has won three of their past four matches. Nishikori has enjoyed success in Canada before, finishing runner-up in 2016 (l. to Djokovic) and advancing to the semi-finals in 2015.
Other notable matches include sixth-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov taking on Swiss Stan Wawrinka, #NextGenATP star Felix Auger-Aliassime facing No. 17 seed and 2013 runner-up Milos Raonic in an all-Canadian clash, and seventh-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini squaring off with American qualifier Tommy Paul.ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, 7 August 2019
Court Centrale start 12:00 noon
 Rafael Nadal vs [Q] Daniel Evans
NB 2:00 pm
 Dominic Thiem vs Denis Shapovalov
NB 6:30 pm
 Milos Raonic vs Felix Auger-Aliassime
 Fabio Fognini vs [Q] Tommy Paul
Banque Nationale start 12:00 noon
 Kei Nishikori vs Richard Gasquet
 Daniil Medvedev vs Kyle Edmund
 Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Hubert Hurkacz
NB 6:30 pm
 Karen Khachanov vs Stan Wawrinka
[WC] Feliciano Lopez / Andy Murray vs Jeremy Chardy / Fabrice Martin
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