Toronto draw: Stacked top quarter could be seeds graveyard
The field for the Toronto Masters is just about as strong as it could be while the draw has made the top quarter a perilous place to be for seeded players.
In Toronto, the top eight seeds will enjoy a bye into the second round.
The seedings are just about in line with current rankings with world No 1 Iga Swiatek heading the field as the top seed.
Swiatek will face either Veronika Kudermentova or American Shelby Rogers.
Should the French Open champion get beyond that first hurdle she might face home hope and 13th seed Leylah Fernandez in the Round of 16.
Fernandez was given the go-ahead to start her comeback to the WTA Tour on home soil.
“Doctor told me just yesterday that I have the green light to play. My foot is 100% healed.” –@leylahfernandez
— Tennis Canada (@TennisCanada) August 5, 2022
The Canadian teen will start her tournament with a first-round clash against a qualifier.
Fernandez can expect a tough second-round match regardless of whether Martina Trevisan or Beatriz Haddad Maia progress from the bracket above.
The bottom half of the top quarter could be equally perilous for the seeds.
Eighth seed Garbine Muguruza will face either Naomi Osaka or Kaia Kanepi in her opening match.
If that section is to go by seeding Belinda Bencic will need to fight her way past former World No 1 Victoria Azarenka and then either a qualifier or 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams.
The second quarter could give us a blockbuster last-eight clash between Maria Sakkari of Greece and Tunisian trailblazer Ons Jabeur.
Sakkari is guaranteed to meet a Grand Slam winner in her opening match with Sloane Stephens and Sofia Kenin battling for the right to meet the World No 3 in the Round of 32.
Jabeur will want to avoid complacency against lower-ranked opponents with home hope Rebecca Marino taking on China’s Qinwen Zheng to determine the World No 5’s second-round opponent.
In the last 16 Sakkari would face one of Amanda Anisimova, Carol Zhao, Barbora Krejcikova or 14th seed Karolina Pliskova.
Bracketed to face Jabeur in the third round are the foursome of Russian No 1 Daria Kasatkina, former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu and French pairing Alize Cornet and Caroline Garcia.
The US No 1 Jessica Pegula is on a Round of 16 collision course with the top-ranked Brit Emma Raducanu.
Raducanu has the tougher path to that potential match facing Camila Giorgi in the first round with a match against either Anna Bondar or Elis Mertens who are both top 50 players.
Pegula, Raducanu or whoever comes through their section would face Paula Badosa in the quarterfinal if the Spaniard can string back-to-back wins together.
Badosa’s first opponent will be either Canada’s own Katherin Sebov or Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putinseva.
Meanwhile, 16th seed Jelena Ostapenko could have a tough time making her way to the Round of 16 as she opens her tournament against Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina and is bracketed alongside two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova who tackles Allison Riske in her opener.
Anett Kontaveit is seeded second, and her bye will allow her to take in the opening round match between Jill Teichmann and Venus Williams which will determine whom she will face first up.
Resurgent Simona Halep might block Kontaveit’s path to a potential quarter-final against Aryna Sabalenka or Coco Gauff.
Sabalenka and Gauff are on a path that would see them meet in the last 16.
However, if Gauff beats a qualifier in Round One she may face Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in just her second match in Toronto.
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