While the men are in action in Montreal, the WTA Rogers Cup is in Toronto takes place at the same time. All of the top 22 players (apart from Serena Williams) in the world are competing, and unlike the men’s event, most are injury-free.
This year has been a fascinating one for women’s tennis. With Serena absent as she prepares to give birth, many other players have taken the opportunity to win tournaments and move up the rankings.
As a result, Karolina Pliskova is the sport’s new number one player and she is seeded as such for this competition, ahead of Simona Halep, Angelique Kerber, and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza.
Form and pointers
Nobody is dominating the women’s field this season á la Federer, but those with impressive records on all surfaces include Elina Svitolina (36-8), Karolina Pliskova (35-10) and Jo Konta (34-10). Of those three, Konta has the best record on hard courts this season, with ten wins and three defeats.
Other players to watch are the winners of last week’s tournaments in Stanford and Washington respectively were Madison Keys and Ekaterina Makarova while Julia Gorges made two finals in July. Wimbledon champion Muguruza will always be hard to beat, as will French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.
The Rogers Cup has thrown up a real mix of winners over the years, although Simona Halep reached the final in 2015 and then won it last year, so she will feel right at home once again. Other previous winners in the field are Caroline Wozniacki (2010), Petra Kvitova (2011), and Agnieszka Radwanska (2014).
Konta and Halep have potentially tricky second-round clashes as Konta could face Makarova and Halep, the number two seed, is likely to face Keys in a repeat of last year’s final.
The first section of the draw looks like the easiest one to call with Pliskova and Wozniacki the best of the players in action although Anastasija Sevastova could be a danger.
Konta’s route could see her face Makaraov, Lucie Safarova, then Dominika Cibulkova ahead of a quarter-final with Kerber or Kvitova. A likely clash between Svitolina and Venus Williams in the third round is one to look forward to in section three, where we expect Muguruza also to come through.
Section four is loaded: Halep and Keys are joined by French Open champion Ostapenko, in-form Gorges and double Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Sticking our necks out, we are going for Pliskova, Wozniacki, Kvitova, Konta, Venus Williams, Muguruza, Kuznetsova and Halep to make it to the quarter-finals.
Betting and markets
There are also the usual bets on each match as the tournament progresses, from outright results to set betting and set scorelines. Some of these may feature in our daily Lucky 15 tips if we see some value in them but bear in mind that women’s tennis can be very unpredictable. That makes it great to watch but not always great to bet on.
Pliskova deserves her favouritism, but we would prefer to back her to win her quarter at 2/1 with Ladbrokes. Although Wozniacki was a finalist in Sweden a couple of weeks back, I see her quarter as the one with the least threat.
For the tournament overall, I am throwing my weight behind Konta. She has had some strong results in North American in the past, such as winning in Miami earlier this year. If she gets through her first two matches unscathed, she can grow into the tournament and go all the way.
At 14/1 with Ladbrokes, Coral, and others, even a run to the final would see a nice return.
Bookmakers have installed Pliskova as the outright favourite for the title, with Muguruza, Halep, Konta and Kvitova next in the market. You can back Pliskova at 17/2 with Bet Stars, which just goes to show how close and unpredictable the event is.
Several bookmakers offer 9/1 against Muguruza, BetVictor go 10/1 Halep, while Ladbrokes are among those offering 14/1 for a patriotic punt on Konta. As usual, each-way terms are half the odds if your choice loses in the final. With no runaway favourite, those terms are quite attractive.
Some bookmakers, notably bet365, offer some other markets, allowing you to bet on which half or quarter of the draw the winner will come from and who will win each section of the draw.