Murray needing to raise level to challenge Fritz
Matches in the Rogers Cup get underway at 1700 UK time, with a number of lower-profile clashes starting off the tournament in advance of the seeds joining in round two. However, there are some fascinating matches as the tournament gets underway, including Andy Murray who faces Taylor Fritz this evening.
The Scotsman's form has been disappointing of late, losing to Mikael Ymer in his opener last week in Washington and his last three defeats have all been as a pre-match favourite. The tables are turned somewhat today though, with Fritz a solid market favourite at 1.491/2 which looks about right given the American's solid edge on serve on hard court - an edge which he should enjoy in the anticipated quick conditions.
Quick conditions suit Shapovalov and De Minaur
Looking through the card, the other match which caught my eye was Denis Shapovalov versus Alex De Minaur, which really looks too good to be a round one match compared to the others on the schedule. The anticipated quick conditions should be to both players' liking, although especially De Minaur who has a good record on grass and also in the quicker Australian events too. I think he's a justified slight favourite at 1.738/11.
Brooksby the better hard courter
If he plays anywhere near his best, Jenson Brooksby get the job done against the inconsistent Alexander Bublik. On hard court in the last 12 months, the American has won around 2% more points on serve and 6% more on return, so I'm surprised he's as big as 1.654/6 against the Kazakh. Brooksby looked like he was getting back to his best in Atlanta, reaching the final, and against an opponent who has missed the summer hard court season so far, he should have too much.
Schwartzman with history over Davidovich Fokina
Also, in quick conditions, Adrian Mannarino has a solid chance in the all-French qualifier match versus Arthur Rinderknech. However, the market recognises this, with probably a fairer price on a slower hard court being around even money apiece - Mannarino is shorter for this at 1.794/5.
Finally, two players who are unlikely to enjoy the quicker conditions are Diego Schwartzman and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, who tend to do their best work on clay. Schwartzman is the slight 1.9520/21 favourite for this following a tough run of results, and has beaten the Spaniard three times on hard/indoor hard in their only career meetings on hard courts. Schwartzman has a longer term pedigree on hard court too, so I can understand why people might be keen on the diminutive Argentine for this.
Back Jenson Brooksby at 1.654/6