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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Fantastic Federer can take advantage of favourable draw

Konta and Kerber can contend

Roger Federer is the 10-11 to win in Switzerland
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ATP Rogers Cup
Live on Sky Sports Action & Main Event, from 5.30pm Monday

Four of the ATP World Tour's top six players will not be in Montreal to contest the Rogers Cup and that means that second seed Roger Federer is just 7-4 to land another title in his extraordinary season.

The Swiss legend, who captured a record-breaking eighth Wimbledon crown last month, has a kind draw and it's hard to see who can stop him reaching the final.

Jack Sock and Kei Nishikori are Federer's biggest challengers in the fourth quarter and, while both reached the semi-finals in Washington last week, they will have to raise their game to trouble the 19-time Grand Slam champion.

Federer is then likely to face one of Grigor Dimitrov, Tomas Berdych, Lucas Pouille or Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals, but none of them have looked in top form recently.

With Andy Murray absent, top seed Rafael Nadal needs only to reach the semi-finals to regain the number one ranking for the first time since 2014 but the top half of the draw looks tougher.

The Majorcan could face Canadian hope Milos Raonic in the quarters while Washington finalist Alexander Zverev could be waiting in the semi-finals and Nadal makes little appeal at 7-2.

Federer has lost just two matches this season, in Dubai in March and in Stuttgart in June, and both of those defeats came after a lengthy break. 

A three-week rest period after the Wimbledon final should have freshened up the 35-year-old and he should still be match fit and able to produce his best tennis, as he did when winning a memorable Masters 1000 spring double in Indian Wells and Miami.

R Federer
2pts 7-4 bet365

WTA Rogers Cup
Live on BT Sport 1, from 4pm

Only Serena Williams is absent from the WTA Tour's top 16 players and the women's event, held in Toronto, looks open with world number one Karolina Pliskova and defending champion Simona Halep disputing favouritism.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Coco Vandeweghe, Aga Radwanska and Caroline Wozniacki all lurk in Pliskova's quarter and the powerful Czech looks vulnerable.

Halep, the second seed and in the bottom quarter, retired from her quarter-final match at the Citi Open and the Romanian looks a touch short considering she is likely to face Madison Keys in the second round.

The third quarter looks fiendishly difficult to escape with Elina Svitolina, Garbine Muguruza, Daria Kasatkina and Venus Williams among those vying for one semi-final place.

Johanna Konta is drawn in the second quarter and looks to have a comparatively straightforward run to the quarter-finals.

The Briton came close to glory at Wimbledon but she plays her best tennis on the quick North American hard courts. She would be favourite to win a likely last-16 clash with Dominika Cibulkova before potentially meeting Angelique Kerber or Petra Kvitova in the quarters.

Kerber is another to consider. She has been displaced at the top of the rankings but the US Open champion showed signs of life at Wimbledon, where she was narrowly outgunned by Muguruza in arguably the best match of the tournament.

The lack of expectation may help the counter-punching German to find her best game and she is a solid each-way price at 22-1.

J Konta
1pt each-way 16-1 BetBright, Coral, Ladbrokes
A Kerber
1pt each-way 22-1 Coral, Ladbrokes

Tournament lowdowns

Venue – men Aviva Centre, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; women Uniprix Stadium, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Prize money – men $4,917,120 ($894,585 to winner) women $2,735,139 ($501,975 to winner)

Category – men Masters Series (1,000 ranking points to winner) women Premier Five (900 ranking points to winner)

Surface Outdoor Decoturf hard courts

Ball Wilson US Open (Regular Duty)

When to bet – men Starts 4pm Monday women Starts 4pm Monday

Where to watch – men Daily live coverage on Sky Sports starting Monday women Daily live coverage on BT Sport starting Monday

Weather forecast – Montreal Dry for the early part of the week with rain forecast for the weekend. High 26C Toronto Rain on Tuesday but likely to be dry for most of the week. High 26C.

Time difference Montreal and Toronto are both five hours behind the UK and Ireland

A three-week rest period after the Wimbledon final should have freshened up the 35-year-old
E.W. Terms
Sky bet