The National Bank Open, formerly Rogers Cup

Brisebois: Swiatek on the women’s side, but on the men’s?

May 19, 2022

Photo : Martin Sidorjak

Roland-Garros is right around the corner, so let’s take a look at women’s tennis in general and Canadian tennis in particular.

With 28 straight wins and 5 back-to-back titles—feats we haven’t seen since Serena Williams—Iga Swiatek, who turns 21 on May 31, is flying high.

She’s dropped only five sets since the start of the season and closed out ten at 6-0.

Without preamble, I can tell you Eugène Lapierre, tournament director of the National Bank Open in Montréal, is a fan.

“I’m really happy for Iga Swiatek. She flew under virtually everyone’s radar. She may not have any nuclear weapons, but her game is so efficient,” he said.

Photo : WTA

“There are no cracks. She does everything well: great serve, great power, great range and, above all, amazing pace. She’s very quick and always seems to get to the ball so easily.”

ONLY GOOD THINGS TO SAY ABOUT BIANCA AND LEYLAH

Of course, Eugène tuned in to the Swiatek–Andreescu quarterfinal in Rome.

“We were happy to see that Bianca was Iga’s biggest challenge in Rome in that first set (6-7). That bodes well for Paris,” he said.

The Tennis Canada VP liked what he saw from the Canadian, who’s currently ranked No.76.

Photo : Martin Sidorjak

“I’d said the match would be a good indicator of where Bianca’s at. It was very telling. Her game will be solid, but she needs more matches.”

World No.17 Leylah Fernandez is also playing great tennis of late.

Photo : Martin Sidorjak

“She gave Kasatkina, who competed in the final against Swiatek, a run for her money (6-7 in the third). So, she’s also one to watch in Paris. Clay suits her game, and no one will want to have her in their side of the draw,” affirmed Eugène.

FÉLIX AND SHAPO ON THE UP AND UP

On the men’s side, World No.9 Félix Auger-Aliassime made headlines.

“In the past weeks, he really developed his clay game. He played a very high-level match against Djokovic in Rome (6-7 in the quarters)—certainly the most competitive for Novak on his way to the title. On paper, Félix should get through several rounds in Paris,” commented Eugène Lapierre.

“Shapo the artist has lethal weapons. He’s spectacular and can beat anyone, on any day, but things can go off the rails at the drop of a hat,” he said, putting the blame on the World No.15’s impatience.

“I hope he isn’t thinking clay isn’t for him, because that would be wrong. He can be a real threat on clay. So, yes, a good run in Paris if he can stay cool.”

Photo : Martin Sidorjak

REMEMBER HER NAME

There aren’t any easy matches in tennis.

“Not in the first, third or fourth rounds,” said Eugène. “So, we’re going to really get behind the players but still have reasonable expectations.”

“Keep an eye on 15-year-old Victoria M’Boko in the girls’ event. She’s an exceptional talent who’s going to start attracting attention.”

Thanks for the tip!

GREAT TENNIS, GOOD QUESTIONS

Also flying high is 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz.

He’s one short of a hat trick after overpowering everyone, including Nole and Rafa on clay in Barcelona and Madrid. His team thought it would be best for him to skip Rome and recover.

Often a one-man-show whenever Nadal and his 13 winner’s trophies are in mix, the men’s event in Paris is raising a lot of questions this year.

With the win in Rome under his belt, does defending champion Novak Djokovic have enough left in the tank for the marathon matches ahead?

Is one warm-up tournament enough for Daniil Medvedev, who’s coming back after surgery?

How much foot pain can Rafa endure? And for how long?

Enjoy the next two weeks of tennis!

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