Alcaraz faces Rune threat as world no.1 begins bid for Canadian Masters title | Tennis News - Hindustan Times

Alcaraz faces Holger Rune threat as world no.1 begins bid for maiden Canadian Masters title: Men's singles draw analysis

Aug 05, 2023 05:51 PM IST

The Canadian Masters will mark the beginning of Alcaraz's preparation for 2023 US Open

Carlos Alcaraz is all set to return to ATP action for the first time since his blockbuster win against Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final last month. And while the Serb won't be part of the tournament, having opted out citing fatigue, the Spaniard faces early threat from the likes of Holger Rune and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the trio have been drawn in the top half of the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers draw on Friday.

This will be Carlos Alcaraz's second appearance in the ATP Masters 1000 event in Canada
This will be Carlos Alcaraz's second appearance in the ATP Masters 1000 event in Canada

Third Alcaraz vs Rune encounter brewing

This will be Alcaraz's second appearance in the ATP Masters 1000 event in Canada and first ever in Toronto as he had suffered a second-round exit in the Montreal edition of the tournament last year. The 20-year-old is likely to add to his growing rivalry with Rune as they could possibly face in the quarters. It will be their third meeting on ATP tour, second in 2023 after Alcaraz's quarterfinal win in Wimbledon and second at a Masters 1000 event after 2022 Paris-Bercy where Alcaraz had retired after losing the first set in the last eight tie.

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If the Spaniard goes past the quarters, he has a possible threat in 2018 finalist Tsitsipas or seventh seed Jannik Sinner waiting for a semifinal bout. Alcaraz, who received a bye into the second round, will begin his campaign against Ben Shelton or countryman Bernabe Zapata Miralles.

The Canadian Masters will mark the beginning of Alcaraz's preparation for the US Open where he will head in as the defending champion, having won in 2022. Following the Toronto event, he will shift base to Cincinnati for his final US Open tune-up tournament, where Djokovic awaits.

Eyes on Daniil Medvedev in bottom half

The second half of the draw will have another US Open winner in Daniil Medvedev, who had won the Toronto edition of the Canadian Masters in 2021. The second seed has Atlanta winner Taylor Fritz in his quarter, with the American on the brink of a second successive ATP title as he already made the semis of Citi Open on Saturday.

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Another possible quarterfinal from this section of the draw will be between sixth seed Andrey Rublev and 2022 US Open finalist Casper Ruud. But both will have to overcome a tough third-round opponent with Rublev likely to face Frances Tiafoe, who will begin his campaign against former World No. 3 Milos Raonic. The Canadian will be playing at home for the first time since 2019 and will be making his third appearance in a tournament this year since making his return from injury in June. Ruud, on the other hand, could run into fellow US Open finalist Alexander Zverev in the pre-quarters will the German set to open his journey with a match against Tallon Griekspoor.

Popcorn first-round matches

Gael Monfils and Wimbledon star Christopher Eubanks have drawn each other in the first round of the second quarter with the winner set to face Tsitsipas, who will be aiming for his second ATP Masters 1000 title in addition to Monte- Carlo.

In other opening-round action, 15th seed Hubert Hurkacz will face Alexander Bublik, 11th seed Cameron Norrie will take on World No. 19 Alex de Minaur and Lorenzo Sonego will be up against three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray.

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