Tuesday Toronto Preview: Djokovic Meets Chung Again; Wawrinka-Kyrgios
Comebacks can sure make for enticing first-rounders, can't they?
During usual times, former No. 3 Stan Wawrinka and 30-time ATP World Tour Masters 1000 champion Novak Djokovic would have first-round byes and a couple of days to ease their way into the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
But since both are on the comeback from injury and still building up their ATP Rankings, we have an order of play like that of Tuesday's in Canada. Enjoy it while it's here.
No. 195 Wawrinka, who received a wild card into the Masters 1000 event, will face 16th seed Nick Kyrgios in the first match on Centre Court. The two met three years ago in Canada, with Kyrgios retiring in the third set. They last played at the 2016 Mutua Madrid Open, when Kyrgios evened their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry at 2-2 with a 7-6(7), 7-6(2) victory.
Following Wawrinka-Kyrgios is a rematch of a fourth-round contest at the Australian Open. Djokovic meets 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals titlist Hyeon Chung, who beat the Serbian in straight sets in Melbourne en route to his maiden Grand Slam semi-final (l. to Federer).
Chung, however, has struggled with ankle injuries since then and is playing only his third tournament since early May. Djokovic, meanwhile, has put everything behind him and is back. He won his 13th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon.
The future of tennis will follow Chung-Djokovic. Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, who, at 17, is the youngest player in the Top 150 of the ATP Rankings (No. 133), will try to upset Frenchman Lucas Pouille, and Auger-Aliassime's friend and countryman Denis Shapovalov, 18 but already No. 26 in the ATP Rankings, will face Jeremy Chardy of France.
Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov, respectively, are 14th and fourth in the ATP Race To Milan, which will determine seven of the eight players who compete at the Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held 6-10 November in Milan. The eighth spot will be reserved for the winner of an all-Italian qualifier tournament to be held just prior to the 21-and-under event.
Marin Cilic, the sixth seed, will close out play against countryman Borna Coric, the Gerry Weber Open champion (d. Federer), who beat Canada's Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 6-3 on Monday night. Fifth seed Grigor Dimitrov, the highest seed to play on Tuesday, and Spain's Fernando Verdasco will finish play on National Bank Grand Stand.
Other matches to follow include Kei Nishikori of Japan vs. Dutchman Robin Haase; American Steve Johnson vs. 14th seed Fabio Fognini, who beat Juan Martin del Potro to win his first-hard court title on Saturday in Los Cabos; and #NextGenATP American Frances Tiafoe vs. Roland Garros semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato of Italy.