The Swiss team was sent packing against Dlouhy/Paes in doubles yesterday, making the Rogers Cup officially Roger-free. To my surprise, I’m still looking forward to today’s quarterfinals! Here’s my take on what we’re going to see in Toronto today (click here for the t.v. schedule):
The top half is a hot mess, but we’re talking James Blake here, so I mean hot in a good way:
Kiefer v. Blake: What is this, 2005? Blake’s 3-0 against the German in this almost old-school matchup, but Kiefer’s been looking pretty sharp lately. And he’s older than I am, which makes me happy. So this is a tough one for me to pick. But the tipping point is that I’d rather watch a Blake v. Nadal or a Blake v. Djokovic final on Sunday than any other possible combination. It could be especially interesting given that Blake has a 3-2 advantage against Nadal and has never met Djokovic before. So let’s go, James!
Simon vs. Cilic: Who’da thunk this match up? These guys both earned their spots in the quarters a couple times over – with Simon taking out Roger a couple nights ago (yeah, so you heard about that?) and Cilic beating Andy Roddick yesterday. (Is Andy suffering from his own Wimby hangover?) Gilles has beaten Cilic the two times they’ve played, but both matches have been close – a three setter in Umag last year and a five setter at last year’s Wimbledon. So I’m betting that Cilic, who must be fresher than the new Indy champion, is going to come out on top. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not rooting for the Frenchman – I adore all French players except for Julien Benneateau.
The bottom half of the draw packs the most hype, but will the Young Guns Doubleheader live up to the buzz?:
Djokovic v. Murray: Can you believe that their head-to-head is 4-0, Djokovic? Both players have beaten Roger twice, which should indicate that they’re pretty evenly matched (Novak’s 2-6, and Murray’s 2-1 against Fed.) But Novak’s kicked Murray’s butt every time, winning in straight sets in 3 out of the 4 matches, and bageling the Scot the past two times they’ve played. Ouch. I guess it could be fun to see if Andy avoids another bagel.
Nadal v. Gasquet: By some coincidence this head-to-head is also 4-0, with Nadal ruling. But at least he’s never bageled the Frenchman and Richard took him to three sets the last time they played on hard courts in Shanghai. Richard also looked really strong and dare I say it – mentally tough – against David Ferrer yesterday, so it could get mildly interesting. We’re guaranteed to see some pretty one-handed backhands and Rafa’s bulging biceps. And really, isn’t that enough?
So there you have it – my own twisted look at the Roger’s Cup without Roger. Who are you picking to make it to the finals?