Vasek Pospisil became the fifth Canadian male to advance to the second round of the 2016 Rogers Cup on Tuesday.
It took Pospisil less than a hour to win his first match of the tournament after his opponent, France’s Jeremy Chardy, forfeited the match with a foot injury early in the second set.
After going down 5-4 in the opening set, Chardy requested medical attention and was attended to for a few moments. The opening set was quite a service battle with neither player able to go up by more than one game. The set eventually went to a tie break where Pospisil went up 5-1, 6-2 and then won 7-3.
“That was pretty much the only thing going on today,” said Pospisil when asked if he was pleased with his serve. “He was serving well. I was serving well. There was not really much else going on.
“The courts are playing pretty fast. He has a great serve, so it wasn’t easy to get deep in his service games. And I was serving well too. So it felt like, apart from that beginning, we were just going into the tiebreak and then I played a good breaker, and that was pretty much it. Just a couple of points in the breaker turned it around.”
After Pospisil went up 30-0 in the opening game of the second set, Chardy requested medical again – and this time forfeited the match.
Pospisil, who will represent Canada in both singles and doubles at Rio 2016, will face 10th seeded Gael Monfils of France on Wednesday. He joins fellow Canadians Milos Raonic, Denis Shapovalov, Peter Polansky and Steven Diez in the second round of the tournament.
“I’m expecting a very tough match,” said Pospisil. “(Monfils) likes to play long points. It will be physical playing during the day, although it will be late, so that’s all right. But I will try to use the crowd support on my side.”
Pospisil will partner with Olympic veteran Daniel Nestor in Rio. The two will team up this week at the Rogers Cup in preparation.
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Pospisil/Nestor have an intriguing first match against the duo of Nick Kyrgios of Australia and Jack Sock of the United States. Kyrgios was eliminated by 17-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov in singles action on Monday while Sock and Pospisil have been a strong doubles tandem in the past.
Canadians moving on in Montreal
Pospisil wasn’t the only Olympic-bound Canadian to post a win on Tuesday. In the Rogers Cup women’s draw in Montreal, Eugenie Bouchard upset Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (3) to advance to the second round.
Bouchard, who will compete in singles and doubles in Rio, will face 11th seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, another Montreal native, 19-year-old Francoise Abanda who is ranked 272nd in the world, upset China’s Saisai Zheng, who is ranked 66th, 6-1, 7-5 to advance to the second round. She’ll take on 17th seed Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine on Wednesday.
Raonic, Djokovic debut Wednesday
Canadian Milos Raonic will make his tournament debut on Wednesday evening against Yen-Hsun Lu of Taiwan. It’ll be the third career meeting between the two (Raonic won the previous two) and first since 2014 in Monaco.
Lu, who advanced to the second round of the Rogers Cup with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Alexander Zverev on Tuesday, said he’ll have to find a way to solve Raonic’s serve on Wednesday.
“In the last past several years, he’s improved a lot,” said Lu. “He’s getting more stable from the baseline. He plays a different kind of game. He can come in.”
This will be Raonic’s first game action since falling to Andy Murray in the Wimbledon final on July 10. The Thornhill, Ontario native is seeded fourth at this week’s tournament and received a bye through to the second round.
Meanwhile, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic will play his first singles match of the tournament on Wednesday as well, taking on Gilles Muller of Luxembourg.
Djokovic, along with his partner Nenad Zimonjic, were defeated in doubles on Tuesday by the Canadian duo of Philip Bester and Adil Shamasdin.
Big day of singles ahead
Wednesday will be a big day for Canada’s men’s singles players in Toronto.
Along with Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil, Denis Shapovalov, fresh off his huge first round upset win over Nick Kyrgios, will play the late game at Centre Court. He’ll face Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in what will be the third career ATP World Tour match for the Canadian.
Meanwhile, Canadians Peter Polansky and Steven Diez will both begin second round action. Polansky will face the Czech Republic’s Radek Stepanek while Diez will take on 12th seeded Bernard Tomic of Australia.