The National Bank Open has reached the quarter finals stage out in Toronto with all four matches being played across two sessions of play on Friday as we go about sorting out the semi-final line up in the latest Masters 1000 event.
We are seeing seeds dropping like flies in this tournament but the top two players in the draw are still in and potentially on a collision course for a place in the final on Sunday. Both face interesting tests on Friday.
Mackenzie McDonald vs Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
The opening quarter final on the Center Court on Friday sees the only match with two unseeded players facing off as the American player Mackenzie McDonald takes on the Spanish ace Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
These two have had excellent weeks so far and one of them will head into a Masters 1000 semi-final. You just wonder if McDonald will appreciate where he is and kind of tense up a bit with the magnitude of what he might be achieving. Davidovich Fokina has achieved more in the game but this weekend could still be the biggest of his career so it is pretty huge for him. I think on experience I would go with the Spaniard but I’ve already been burned by McDonald this week and I’m not in a massive rush to get done again so I’ll leave this one alone.
Alex de Minaur vs Daniil Medvedev
The pick of the quarter finals in the day session comes in the second match of it as the Australian player Alex de Minaur looks to make it through to a second semi-final in as many weeks when he takes on Daniil Medvedev.
Medvedev generally comes alive on the American hard courts and the signs are that he is doing that again having come through his first two matches since losing out in the Wimbledon semi-final with the minimum of fuss. De Minaur had a good warm up for this quarter final when he took on Taylor Fritz in the previous round on Thursday and he could be a touch of value in this match. I’m in no massive rush to take on the Russian on an American hard court though and while I’m tempted by the over in games, I’m not tempted enough to get involved.
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Carlos Alcaraz vs Tommy Paul
The night session opener sees the Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz looking to continue the build-up to his US Open title defence later in the month when he meets a competent Tommy Paul who has battled his way into the quarter final.
Alcaraz survived a humdinger with Hubert Hurkacz on Thursday night and you wonder if that might have an impact on this contest, especially when you consider that Paul had the easiest match of his tournament in the previous round and should be a little fresher. That said, Alcaraz is a pretty fit cookie so I would be surprised if he is too jaded off of one match having not played since Wimbledon. Paul did beat Alcaraz in this tournament in Montreal last year so he might not be a no-hoper here but it is hard to take Alcaraz on right now. I’ll sit this one out as well.
Gael Monfils vs Jannik Sinner
The last of the quarter finals comes in the second match in the night session as Gael Monfils continues his return to the big time when he goes up against the Italian superstar Jannik Sinner in a cracking looking contest.
Monfils has rolled back the years so far this week with a win over Stefanos Tsitsipas the highlight of what he has delivered to date but he might be disadvantaged by the way the draw has panned out. I say that because Sinner had a walkover in the previous round when Andy Murray wasn’t good to go. That should leave Sinner fresh as a daisy after a day off and with Monfils having three matches in four days in his legs you wouldn’t be completely surprised if the French veteran starts feeling it a little here. Sinner is a big time player on these courts and that extra freshness he brings to the court makes me think he’ll see off his man in straight sets, something he has done in two of his three wins over Monfils.
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