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Toronto Scouting Report: Nadal Chases Sixth Title, Medvedev & Tsitsipas In Action

An executive summary of what every fan should know about the coming week

The world’s best players are set to compete this week at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers in Toronto. Five-time champion Rafael Nadal and Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas are among a stacked field of talent in Canada.

They will be joined by top seed Daniil Medvedev, Russian Andrey Rublev and home favourite Denis Shapovalov, while #NextGenATP Jannik Sinner makes his debut at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Toronto, which alternates hosting duties with Montreal.

Before play begins, ATPTour.com looks at 10 things to watch in Toronto.

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1) Nadal Targeting No. 6 In Canada: Reigning champion Nadal arrives at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers with fond memories, having captured back-to-back titles at Canada's Masters 1000 event in 2018 and 2019. The 35-year-old, who also lifted the crown in 2005, 2008, and 2013, made his return to the Tour at the Citi Open last week after he recovered from a foot injury.

The Spaniard will be aiming to win his 89th tour-level title this week, having already claimed trophies in Rome and Barcelona earlier this year. The second seed could face a tricky opening foe in Lloyd Harris if the South African overcomes a qualifier in the first round. Harris upset Nadal in a three-set Washington thriller.

2) Medvedev Top Seed: Medvedev will lead the field as the top seed in his third appearance (also 2018 and 2019) at the hard-court event. Although he did it when the tournament was held in Montreal, the Russian star made his first massive splash at this event two years ago. Medvedev did not lose a set en route to his first Masters 1000 final. It was his second of six consecutive championship matches.

The 25-year-old most recently made the quarter-finals at the Tokyo Olympics and has captured two ATP Tour titles this year (Marseille and Mallorca). Medvedev also led Russia to the ATP Cup title in February. He could face Italian Sinner in a third-round blockbuster as he attempts to claim a 12th tour-level title.

3) Tsitsipas Back In Toronto: Like Medvedev, Tsitsipas made his first Masters 1000 breakthrough at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers. Three years ago in Toronto, then World No. 27, Tsitsipas beat four consecutive Top 10 opponents to reach his first Masters 1000 final, where only Nadal was able to stop him.

Tsitsipas has been on the rise since then, and he sits in second place in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin. The Greek star, who made his first Grand Slam final earlier this year at Roland Garros, will be looking to enjoy another successful trip to Toronto. Tsitsipas will begin his run against Halle champion Ugo Humbert or Cagliari titlist Lorenzo Sonego In his opening match.

4) Rublev Making A Masters 1000 Push: Rublev has played better than ever at Masters 1000 events this year, reaching his first semi-final in Miami and championship match in Monte-Carlo. The 23-year-old, who is in fourth place in the ATP Race To Turin, will try to go one step further at this level in Toronto, where he lost in the first round in 2018 in his only previous main draw appearance. Now the fourth seed, Rublev faces a challenging draw. The Russian will play big-hitting Italian or 2019 Monte Carlo champion Fabio Fognini in the second round.

5) #NextGenATP Stars In Action: #NextGenATP stars Sinner, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Jenson Brooksby and Sebastian Korda will all be in action in Toronto. Sinner was victorious at the Great Ocean Road Open in Melbourne earlier this year and became just the fourth teenager to reach the final at the Miami Open presented by Itau in March. The 16th seed, who is playing in the Citi Open final on Sunday evening, is making his debut at Canada's Masters 1000 tournament and will face Taylor Fritz or a qualifier in the first round.

Home favourite Auger-Aliassime will be competing in the main draw in Toronto for the second time (also 2018). The 20-year-old, who is in second position in the ATP Race To Milan, advanced to his eighth tour-level final at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart in June. The ninth seed could play Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals.

Brooksby, who made his first ATP Tour final in Newport and his maiden ATP 500 semi-final in Washington, received a wild card. Like Sinner, Brooksby and Korda will be making their debuts at Canada's Masters 1000 tournament.

6) Home Favourite Shapovalov: Canadian Denis Shapovalov returns to home soil on the back of a strong grass-court season in which the 22-year-old advanced to his first Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon (l. to Djokovic) and reached the last four at The Queen’s Club. It will be the lefty’s fifth appearance at Canada’s Masters 1000 event and the World No. 10 could face Korda in the second round and Rublev in the quarter-finals. 

7) Kyrgios Leads Wild Cards: Australian Nick Kyrgios will compete in his sixth event of the season after accepting a wild card into the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers. The 26-year-old, who is making his seventh appearance at Canada’s Masters 1000 event, has played in Atlanta and Washington in recent weeks following his run to the third round at Wimbledon. Kyrgios faces big-serving Reilly Opelka in one of the most intriguing first-round matches. In addition to Kyrgios and Brooksby, home favourite Vasek Pospisil also received a wild card.

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8) Ruud On A Roll: Norway’s Casper Ruud is on a roll. The 22-year-old became the first player since Andy Murray in October 2011 to win three ATP Tour titles in three weeks when he backed up triumphs in Bastad and Gstaad by clinching the crown in Kitzbühel. Ruud used that surge to climb to eighth in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin. The sixth seed, who is in the same half as Nadal, will look to transform his winning clay-court form to hard courts this week.

Read More: Getting To Know... Casper Ruud

9) Can Hurkacz Deliver Again? Hubert Hurkacz became Poland’s first Masters 1000 singles champion at the Miami Open presented by Itau in April. The 24-year-old backed that up by reaching his first Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon in July. This will be Hurkacz’s second main draw appearance in Canada. The seventh seed will meet Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic or former World No. 4 Kei Nishikori in his first match. 

10) Mektic/Pavic Lead Doubles Field: Croatians Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic have had a dream maiden year together, clinching nine tour-level titles – including three ATP Masters 1000s and Wimbledon – while also capturing gold at the Tokyo Olympics. The top seeds will lead the field in Toronto and are joined by second-seeded Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. American-British tandem Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury are seeded third, while Halle champions Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecau are the fourth seeds.

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