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Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Del Potro could go all the way in Toronto

Sloane Stephens looking good among the women

Juan Martin Del Potro on his way to victory over Damir Dzumhur
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ATP Rogers Cup
Roger Federer is the only absentee from the world’s top ten in Toronto this week and all eyes will be on Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic as he begins his US Open preparations.

Djokovic landed the ATP Rogers Cup for a fourth time when held in Toronto in 2016 and the rejuvenated Serb is sure to have his followers once again having earned his first Grand Slam victory in more than two years at Wimbledon last month.

But the opposition in Canada this week is the toughest possible and any rustiness will be exposed. Djokovic has a tricky opener against classy Korean Hyeon Chung while Dominic Thiem and second seed Alexander Zverev, who was in action in the Washington Open final on Sunday night, are also in his quarter.

World number one Rafael Nadal spearheads the top half of the draw but he was beaten in the third round by home hope Denis Shapovalov in this event last season and makes little appeal at the prices with Nick Kyrgios and Marin Cilic his potential early opponents.

Juan Martin del Potro could represent value with fewer doubts surrounding his wellbeing.

The Argentinian was beaten by Fabio Fognini in the Los Cabos Open final but that was his first tournament since making the last eight at Wimbledon and he should have come on plenty for the spin.

Delpo may be more prepared for a title tilt than his fellow seeds and an opening-round bye gives him valuable recovery time from his efforts in Mexico. He is housed in a winnable quarter and should see this as a perfect opportunity to secure some long overdue silverware.

Grigor Dimitrov may be another who is slightly overpriced now he is returning to his favoured surface.

Six of his eight career titles have come on a hard court and the Bulgarian could take some stopping armed with a generous draw.

Dimitrov has an opening-round bye before a likely clash with Fernando Verdasco, who is much better on clay.

At his best Dimitrov would have the beating of the seeds in his quarter - David Goffin, Kevin Anderson and Roberto Bautista Agut -and he may have been underestimated by bookmakers.

Recommendations
JM del Potro
1pt each-way 9-1 Coral, Ladbrokes, Sky Bet
G Dimitrov
1pt each-way 50-1 Betfred

Stephens happiest on a hard court

WTA Rogers Cup
The women's event, held in Montreal, looks fiendishly competitive with Wimbledon heroine Angelique Kerber and 2016 champion Simona Halep battling for favouritism.

Kerber was sensational at Wimbledon, sauntering to the title for the loss of only one set, while Halep has an excellent record in Canada having made at least the semi-final stage in the last three years.

But both are in the top half of the draw with Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Daria Kasatkina and Caroline Garcia all lurking as potential dangers.

The value could lie in the bottom half with hard-hitting American Sloane Stephens the most convincing alternative.

The third seed made the last four 12 months ago before going on to win the US Open and she could be the one they all have to beat.

Stephens reached the final of the French Open prior to a disappointing stint on the grass but she's at her happiest on a hard court and has been dealt a tasty draw.

There should be little to concern the 25-year-old in her quarter with seeds Garbine Muguruza, Julia Goerges and Naomi Osaka all having plenty to prove.

Muguruza has yet to deliver on this surface at the highest level, while Goerges trails Stephens 5-1 in their series and Osaka lacks the tools to cause an upset.

The fourth quarter looks difficult to call with defending champion Elina Svitolina, second seed Caroline Wozniacki, lively Latvian Jelena Ostapenko and Brit Johanna Konta among those vying for one semi-final place.

Recommendation
S Stephens
1pt each-way 14-1 Betfair, Paddy Power, Sky Bet


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The women's event, held in Montreal, looks fiendishly competitive
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