ATP Montréal Five Players Most Likely to Stop Novak Djokovic


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Novak Djokovic will be going for his fifth ATP 1000 title of 2015 when he enters the ATP 1000 Canadian Open this week. The world No.1 will go into the event as the heavy favourite, but his path to the title will feature some big obstacles. The Tennis Review looks at the five players most likely to get in the way of Djokovic’s Montreal 2015 campaign.

1. Kevin Anderson.

Anderson gave Djokovic his toughest challenge at Wimbledon last month, forcing Djokovic to come back from two sets to love down to beat him, and the two could meet in the last eight if Anderson upsets Tomas Berdych in the round of 16.

Djokovic has some of his toughest matches against the game’s biggest servers, and one of his two defeats this season came against Ivo Karlovic in Doha, the other to Roger Federer in Dubai.

The three time Canada Open Champion is also short of  hard court match practice, and if his return is off and his own serve rusty, he could suffer an early defeat to the world No. 14.

2. John Isner

Speaking of big serves, John Isner has arguably the biggest on the tour and could, if he defeats Stan Wawrinka in the last 16 and Milos Raonic in the last eight, face Djokovic in the semis.

Isner has proven to be a nightmare match-up for Djokovic on North American hard courts, beating him  at Indian Wells ’12 and Montreal ’13. The recent Atlanta Champion also pushed Djokovic to two tight sets at Indian Wells and Miami this season.

Isner thrives on hard courts and the slower pace of some of the North American hard court help his mobility issues.  Against Djokovic, his huge serve negates Djokovic’s greatest weapon- his return- and his first strike tennis denies the Serbian any rhythm from the baseline. Those factors could once again combine to grab Isner another victory over the world No.1.

3. Stan Wawrinka

Wawrinka has gotten in the way of Djokovic at some important moments in the last couple of seasons- at the Australian Open ’14 quarters  and this year’s French  Open final.

Wawrinka has a 10-8 record in Canada and has not been past the last eight, but he had not been past that stage of either the French Open or the Australian Open when he won those tournaments, either.

Wawrinka is not afraid to beat Djokovic on the big stages, and if he can redline his game should they meet in the semis, he might grab another famous win.

4. Jo-Wilfred Tsonga

Tsonga upset Djokovic on his title run in Toronto last season and has the game and guts to beat him again should they meet in the final.

Tsonga is a streaky player and the defending champ has had some of his career best wins in Canada. If he makes the final this year he will be on one of those streaks and Djokovic will have to be at his aggressive best to defeat him.

5.Kei Nishikori

Nishikori stunned Djokovic in the US Open semi-finals last season and is in good form, reaching the Citi Open finals.

The world no.5 can match Djokovic stroke for stroke at the baseline and has a history of pushing him to the brink.

The 25 year old has been to an ATP 1000 final before, the 2014 Madrid Open, where he took it to Nadal, leading the Spaniard by a set and a break before injury got the better of him.

If Nishikori can stay healthy, and get inspired by the occasion, he could win his first ATP 1000 title at the expense of the world No.1 in Montreal and make his match up versus Djokovic one of the most exciting on the ATP tour.

Commentary by Christian Deverille.

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