Reunited for the first time since Wimbledon and warming up for the US Open

It seems like a long wait for the top four to get back into action following Wimbledon 2011, but they’re all back and gunning for glory in Montreal this week. Will Djokovic continue his hard court domination or can one of the other names end his run? 

Novak DjokovicNovak Djokovic 

After a few weeks break, Novak could return to a tough test in Montreal on Tuesday evening.  He will most likely meet Davydenko and although the Serb isn’t afraid of anyone at the moment, he may have hoped for a slightly easier return to action than he may be handed here. 

Djokovic has won every hard court tournament he has played in this year and has beaten Nadal,  Federer and Murray along the way. The new World No.1 has enjoyed some well earned rest following his Wimbledon success and there’s a slight chance he’ll be a little underprepared for this one. Having said that, you’d have to be very brave to back against the Serb in 2011 and at 9/5 to win the event, I feel he represents good value. Now could also be the time to get your money on Novak for New York, because if he wins this week and does well in next week’s event, his odds of being the Big Apple in New York will tumble. 

Rafa, Roger and Andy 

All three men know that, to varying degrees, they have a lot on their hands to catch Djokovic. Out of the four big names, it’s Djokovic who appears to have the toughest draw of the week and that will offer hope to the others. Andy Murray seems to have a very favourable run through his quarter of the draw, but it has to be noted that he’s dropped out of the previous two US hard court Masters events this year, in the first round. I like Murray’s odds of 9/2 and would be tempted to back him, but 2011 feels like a very risky year to be placing your earnings on the shoulders of the Scot so be prepared for a bumpy ride. 

Rafa Nadal will still be smarting from his Wimbledon defeat to Djokovic. Five big finals between the two this year have all gone the Serb’s way but Nadal would certainly have seen the Wimbledon final as a chance to avenge all four of the other matches in one swoop. It didn’t happen, and when something doesn’t work out for Rafa, you can always guarantee he will go away and work on a strategy for making it happen next time around. Like the other big names, the Spaniard has had a rest and will be fresh coming into this one. I’m not sure he’ll be up for another final collision with Djokovic though and if he has been working on something different, he may well be saving it for the big one in New York. 16/5 are generous odds for the former World No.1 but I don’t see him going all out for victory this week. 

Roger FedererRoger Federer is still to win one of the big events in 2011 and after looking on top of his game at Wimbledon, he suddenly found himself losing from a seemingly unbeatable position against Tsonga in the semis. Federer is the only man to beat Djokovic this year and he defeated the Serb here just last summer. The pair could meet in a semi-final showdown again, but it would be a tough ask for him to defeat the current World No.1 twice in succession. It seems strange to say, but at 9/2, the value just isn’t there for me with Federer. 

The Americans 

Plenty of US hopes in action and leading the way will be Mardy Fish and John Isner. Fish has had a great year, becoming the US No.1, and Isner arrives in the event having already bagged a couple of titles and played some of the best tennis of his career over the past six weeks or so. They’ll both be tough to beat, and we may get to see a Djokovic v Isner matchup later in the week, which could be fascinating. With Isner at 100/1 and Fish at 66/1, there’s certainly plenty of value around. Fish maybe has the easier draw though and could certainly be worth an each way tennis bet. 

Other Hopefuls 

Juan Martin Del Potro continues his comeback from injury and is always a danger in the draw. An early clash with Djokovic could be on the cards here, and if he did manage to overcome the Serb, his current odds of 16/1 would be a distant memory. 

If you’re looking for value in tennis handicapping, the best bet has to be Australian Bernard Tomic. Having made it to the quarters at Wimbledon, 200/1 are astonishing odds for one of the games up and coming stars. If he progresses, he’ll need to beat Federer in the middle of the week, but on recent form, that’s not entirely out of the question.