The National Bank Open (or Canadian Open or Toronto Open or whatever you feel like calling it) has been full of upsets on the men’s side, the same potential exists in an even more stacked Western and Southern Open that begins in full on Monday. But the final could feature one we all want to see: Carlos Alcaraz versus Novak Djokovic.
Before we get into that, let’s start with the first-round matchup between Gael Monfils and Cam Norrie. Monfils versus Norrie is going to be must-watch tennis, right? Gael Monfils is one of the best showmen tennis has ever seen, plus he is playing some of his best tennis in years currently. He just made it to the quarterfinals in Toronto before falling in three well-played sets to seventh-seeded Jannik Sinner.
Plus, Norrie, while not having his best year ever, is still an excellent player who can lace some forehands. Monfils versus Norrie should feature some punishing tennis but with excellent athleticism, at least on the part of Monfils. That is meant as no slight to Norrie as he can crush a ball with the best of players.
Alcaraz versus Djokovic is potential final at Western and Southern Open
Another fantastic first-round matchup is Grigor Dimitrov against Alexander Zverev. Like the 36-year-old Monfils, the 32-year-old Dimitrov has bounced back from being hurt and not playing well to have a very good 2023 so far. He beat Frances Tiafoe at Wimbledon and made the semifinals at the Citi Open.
Zverev won his first title of 2023 a couple of weekends ago when he won in Hamburg. He also made the semis in Halle and at the French Open. At their best, Zverev and Dimitrov will battle with long rallies and great returns of serve. This should be a third-round match, not just a first-rounder.
The Western and Southern Open could also potentially feature a rematch of Wimbledon as Carlos Alcaraz is the top seed and Novak Djokovic is the second seed. Djokovic hasn’t played since Wimbledon and Alcaraz just surprisingly got bounced in the quarters at the National Bank Open. There is also a chance that Alcaraz, with an unexpectedly early exit in Cincinnati, could lose his number 1 ATP ranking to Djokovic no matter how the Serbian does. Djokovic has no points to defend but could gain a lot by winning the tournament.
Meanwhile, Carlos Alcaraz has a tough side of the draw. He could potentially face Ugo Humbert, Casper Ruud, Frances Tiafoe, or his new nemesis, Tommy Paul. Not that Jannik Sinner or Holger Rune are easy, but Carlos Alcaraz faces more potential stops on the road to the title than Djokovic. But seriously, let’s hope they meet in the title match again.