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From the Frying Pan... on to the Canada & Cincy Masters

August 07, 2012 | 09:11 PM

Cramming the Olympics into the ATP and WTA schedules is the worst of the various scheduling fiascos top players have to deal with in our sport.

If ever there were a bad time for two ATP 1000 and WTA Premier to take place in consecutive weeks, it is immediately following The Olympics and preceding the US Open. There are 3 other months in the year which contain two ATP 1000 events on both tours: March, May and October, and only May immediately precedes a Major. The WTA shares the first two double months, but has wisely placed only a single Premier event (Beijing) in October before the year-end finale:

- March, with Indian Wells and Miami for both men and women, is the easiest as it follows a slow month and as both events are longer than the 1 week we see for others (the seeds have to play 5 matches to win any of these events; with 10 days, the players have the breathing room to play doubles)

- May, with Madrid and Rome, is rougher as the events are followed immediately by Paris

- October, with Shanghai and Paris indoors, precedes the tour ending events for the top 8

This makes this month, with Toronto (men) and Montreal (women), into anything can happen events for the top seeds who've gone deep in London, and therefore for everyone else.

In my last post, we looked at what the tough the draws mean for the top 2 seeds in Toronto.

- JOKER faces Nishikori in the 3rd round, Delpo in the quarters, Tsonga in the semis

- MURRAY faces Raonic in the 3rd round, Isner in the quarters, Berdych in the semis

These other seeds in their brackets have an opportunity to go deeper than they otherwise might. Those more likely to prosper at Joker's expense include: Tomic (meets Joker tomorrow), Nishikori/Querrey, Simon/Haas, Stepanek/Del Potro, Tsonga/Granollers or Cilic/Baghdatis or Tipsarevic/Youzhny. The first 5 together reduce the odds of JOKER reaching the quarters to 65%. The rest of his half further reduces the odds of him reaching the semis to just less than 48%.

MURRAY's odds are only slightly better of reaching the quarters (71%) and the semis (54%). Those likely to prosper include: Raonic (meets Andy in 3rd round, assuming he wins his first match), Kohlschreiber/Isner, Berdych/Gasquet or Fish/Monaco.

It's just as bad in Montreal for Azarenka: Lisicki in the 3rd round, Kvitova in the quarters, Sharapova in the semis.

Among the top seeds, the only sweetheart draw goes to #2 Radwanska, who drew Pennetta, Errani, Kerber as the highest seeds in her half.

The top 3 women are separated by so little in the rankings this week that The Cup will almost certainly decide who among them takes the next turn at numero uno. Meanwhile, the woman who is in all but rankings number 1 - Serena - is taking the week off, like Roger (neither have many points to defend). With Vika 100 points ahead of #2 Maria, and Maria not even 500 ahead of Aggie, a title for any of them would deliver the top spot, if only for a week.

Due to Serena's dominance, the #1 WTA ranking just doesn't assure an easier draw.


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