Who will win it all at Rogers Cup presented by National Bank?
As players and fans try to shake off their Wimbledon hangovers, we turn our attention to hard-court season, and more specifically, toward Rogers Cup. Returning champions Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Agnieszka Radwanska are looking to defend their titles, but it will prove difficult against the class of the field in 2015.
Using hard-court (and hardcore) statistics from the past three years, let’s take a look at the favourites and the dark horses competing at Rogers Cup.
Men’s draw: Top 5 seeds
As far as the ATP circuit is concerned, this is Novak Djokovic’s world and we’re just living in it. In 2015, he has won: a fifth Australian Open title, a third Wimbledon title, as well as four Masters 1000 tournaments. He is a combined 48-3 on the year. All of these achievements come before his supposed “best” stretch of the tennis year, the hard-court season. The guy can literally do whatever he wants on a tennis court, whenever he wants to do it.
In 2015, Novak is winning 20% more on hard courts than anyone else playing at Rogers Cup.
Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, and Kei Nishikori all converge to the same win rate, around 80%. For Andy, this is a step back from his previous form. For Stan and Kei, it represents their slow ascent into hard-court relevance. One of these three players can push Djokovic at Rogers Cup, but it will take a herculean effort to defeat the current world No. 1.
Next, let’s take a look at these player’s dominance ratios on hard courts. A player’s dominance ratio (DR) is calculated using the following formula: (% of points won on opponents’ serves) / (% of points lost on own serve). DR tells us how dominant a tennis player truly is – usually a good indicator of win percentage.
As you can see, the other top seeds pale in comparison to Djokovic’s dominance on hard courts, where he boasts a 26-2 record in 2015 (only losses to Roger Federer and Ivo Karlovic).
Despite his 2015 record being the worst among the group, Tomas Berdych boasts the second best DR. This is attributed to his monster serve and flat, powerful ground strokes. He is due for a major correction and could take a run at the Rogers Cup title.
Bold prediction: If Berdych can sustain his current playing level, I think he has the best chance to upset the Djoker in Montreal. Maybe his newlywed status will help him clinch his second Masters 1000 title.
Dark horses: Men
Fresh off foot surgery and a third-round loss at Wimbledon, Raonic is ready to play on home soil and win his first Masters 1000. He looks to repeat his 2013 showing in Montreal, where he lost to Rafael Nadal in the final. Raonic’s booming serve elevates his DR to 1.21, just a few ticks below Murray. If he can regain his 2013 form, look out. On a lighter note, this is a real thing:
Coming off a successful tournament defense at the Claro Open in Bogota, Tomic improved his hard-court record to 20-8 in 2015. He owns the eighth best hard-court record on tour, despite his 25th ranking. If he is beginning to fulfill his potential, he will turn some heads in Montreal.
Women’s draw: Top 5 seeds
If we are living in Novak’s world, then the universe belongs to Serena. She is 40-1 (!!!!!) on the year and is showing no signs of slowing down. With her victory at Wimbledon, she completed a second Serena Slam and has a chance to complete a Calendar Slam at the US Open – a tournament she has won three consecutive times. Her winning percentage on hard courts in 2015 is… …you guessed it, 100%.
Other than Serena, the most legitimate threat on hard courts this year has been Simona Halep. She owns the most match wins on this surface (24), as well as the most titles (3). Her hard-court game has reached new heights in 2015, but still pales in comparison to Serena’s. The point I am trying to drive home is – Serena Williams is in a class of her own and nobody can change that, especially on hard courts.
Dark horses: Women
In 2014, Venus Williams reached the final of Rogers Cup, losing to Aga Radwanska in straight sets. She has continued her winning ways on hard courts, boasting a 76% win rate this year. If she can sustain her level of play, she could go deep in Rogers Cup – potentially setting up a 27th match against her #sisterforlife.
Bacsinszky boasts an excellent record on hard courts in 2015, with 23 wins and only three losses. Both her wins came in Mexico – Acapulco and Monterrey. A semifinal berth at Roland Garros and a quarter-final berth at Wimbledon were both personal bests. Her successful 2015 should continue in Toronto.
With Rogers Cup only a week away, the stellar player field promises a spectacular show in the first warm-up tournament before the US Open.