Oh Canada – Recapping the Canadian Results from Monday
2018 Rogers CupGreg Bowman
12 singles matches and one doubles match were on tap from the Rogers Cup on Monday, which featured a total of five Canadians playing. Peter Polanksy, Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil all started their journey in the round of 64, while the lone doubles match featured a pair of Canadians teaming up in Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov. The Aviva Centre grounds became an even busier bee hive, with tennis fans pouring in from near and far to see some of the best in the business go to work.
Peter Polansky Defeats Matthew Ebden (7-6, 6-4)
Fans didn’t have to wait long for some Canadian content, as the very first match of the day featured Toronto, Ontario resident Peter Polansky play at Centre Court. Being born at North York General, playing in the Rogers Cup must feel like playing in his own backyard in the York area. The tennis pro since 2007 came into the action ranked #121 with a singles career record of 17-38, but the ace up his sleeve was the hometown crowd. His opponent hailing from Perth, Australia was Matthew Ebden, who won a Bronze Medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi and captured the mixed doubles 2013 Australian Open. Ebden started the match off serving up three consecutive aces with an average speed of 201 km/h, but Polanksy would hold serve all the way through the first set and a tiebreaker would be needed. Ebden called for his first challenge of the match, on an ‘in’ call that would give the homegrown product a 6-3 advantage in the tiebreaker, with the call being upheld, allowing the Canuck to take the tiebreaker on the next play and take the first set 7-6. The second set wasn’t any less competitive with both athletes holding serve, including a 15-point deuce that put Polanksy up 4-3 in the second set, with Ebden following up by holding off break point of his own with a deuce to tie things up again in the set. Finally, with the crowd behind him the whole match, Peter was able to break serve, eventually taking the second set 6-4 and the match in straight sets. Peter Polansky started off the day right and setting the bar for the rest of the Canadian products still to play on their home soil.
Kevin Anderson/Novak Djokovic Defeats Felix Auger-Aliassime/Denis Shapovalov (6-3, 6-2)
The lone doubles match of the day was supposed to be played at Centre Court following the Sock vs Medvedev match at roughly 3pm. However, thanks to a thunderstorm which rolled through that dropped up to 15mm of rain around the GTA not only delayed the match, but changed its location to the National Bank Grand Stand. This was disappointing to many fans who were turned away at the Gate, thanks to the smaller court already being at capacity to take in the star-studded affair around 6:45pm. The match had everything a fan could ask for: two young Canadians excelling to their potential as of late taking on two of the top 10 tennis players in the world. The youth shot out of the gate riding the crowd fully behind them, taking the first two games thanks to some strong returns by Denis Shapovalov and the quick agility of Felix Auger-Aliassime. While Novak Djokovic took time to find consistency in his serve, with his South African partner in Kevin Anderson fired 220 km/h serves at will. Slowly but surely, the experience factor would start to play out, as the foreign foes playing in Canada would find their groove, eventually tying up the first set at three games apiece. The Canadians would fail in trying to swing momentum back onto their side of the court, eventually losing the first set 6-3 in 36 minutes. Youth would come out with energy again to start the second set, taking the first game with ease, but more big serves by Kevin Anderson set up easy soft put aways for Novak Djokovic. That allowed the veterans of the tennis world to take the next five games in a row, eventually taking the set 6-2 and the match in straight sets in just an hour and seven minutes. For Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime, their doubles competition ends pretty abruptly, but this doesn’t end their week at the Rogers Cup, as the two will now turn their focus to singles play. Novak Djokovic and Kevin Anderson create an interesting problem for themselves, as they team up for the first time on the ATP stage; they played incredible together. That could raise an issue down the line, as Djokovic will be looking to capture his fifth Roger Cup title and Anderson his first, in singles competition, doubles will hardly be the focus of attention for the two stars as the week continues.
Milos Raonic Defeats David Goffin (6-3, 6-4)
There have been questions surrounding Canadian Milos Raonic’s health for the past year or so, as he has battled a multitude of injuries. He played in his first competitive match since he was eliminated in Wimbledon, where he suffered a torn quad. Raonic took his due diligence to nurse the injury back to full health for his first-round matchup in his home tournament against no. 10 seed David Goffin from Belgium. Milos’s bread and butter is his service game, and he leaned on it in his opening round match. He started the first game with the serve, and did not give up a single point as Goffin had difficulties returning balls that came at him as high as 220 km/h. Goffin would win the next game with service, but would get broken by Raonic on his next service attempt to go down 3-1. Raonic continued to bring the heat, as he went up 4-1 with a 234 km/h serve. Goffin would trail 5-3, looking to cut the deficit to 5-4 by breaking Raonic. Down 40-0 with the serve, the Canadian proceeded to blow five straight serves into Goffin’s end of the court, none of which were returned. Raonic would finish the set with a 227 km/h serve that was unreturnable, giving him the one set lead 6-3. That was par for the course in the second set, as Raonic drew even at 1-1 with four consecutive aces. Milos would then break Goffin to go up 2-1. That break would all but solidify Goffin’s fate, as he stood little chance against the 6’5 Canuck’s service game. Raonic would win the second set 6-4, moving him on to the second round of his home tournament. Raonic finished the match with 13 aces and his fastest serve was registered at 237 km/h. He went on a streak where he won 21 of 23 service points, including seven consecutive, and only double-faulted once in the entire match.
Borna Coric Defeats Vasek Pospisil (6-4, 6-3)
The final match of the first round featured Canadian Vasek Pospisil taking on Croatian Borna Coric. Pospisil was a wild card competitor in the tournament on home soil while Coric is ranked #20 in the world and is playing the best tennis of his five-year career. Pospisil, from Vernon, B.C., had the home contingency behind him as he came out of the gates in the first game with strong serves, taking the 1-0 lead. The two would exchange service games until Coric was finally able to get the first break of the match, going up 4-3. Down 5-3, the Aviva Centre crowd started to applaud him in an attempt to motivate the Canadian. The faithful’s influence sparked something in Vasek, as he survived break point during a deuce to draw closer at 5-4. Coric would then hold serve to take the first set 6-4. In the second set, Pospisil continued to show a fiery passion, clearly ignited by the home crowd. He stayed with the Croatian at each and every step, as he attempted to get his drop shot to work for him. Coric would then break Vasek to go up 4-3, which put the writing on the wall for the Canadian. He would eventually fall in straight sets 6-4, 6-3. Despite the first-round exit, the crowd at Aviva Centre got behind their compatriot, as Pospisil was noticeably grateful for the support as he exited the court.
There will be two Canadians in action on Tuesday, as Denis Shapovalov will be taking on Jeremy Chardy, and 17 year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime will be taking on Lucas Pouille.