Milos Raonic’s quest for a medal in London just got a whole lot harder after the draw for the Olympic Men’s Singles was made. Al Dannity looks at how the draw shapes up for Raonic and the rest of Canada’s Tennis hopefuls.
A road best avoided
The draw for the Olympics really couldn’t have gone much worse for Milos Raonic. The Thornhill, Ont. player will be favored to win his first round match against Japan’s Tatsuma Ito but from there on it’s all uphill. The second round presents the daunting prospect of a match with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a semi-finalist at Wimbledon last month. Even if Raonic shocks the Frenchman, he will probably have to get past ninth seeded Juan Monaco and second seed Novak Djokovic just to make the medal rounds. The Olympics are meant to be the ultimate test in sport but even a rising star like Raonic would be going beyond the concept of faster, higher, stronger, to make the semi-finals.
Canada’s other entrant, Vasek Pospisil, has also landed a tough draw. The world number 85 will face fourth seed David Ferrer in the first round. Even if Pospisil pulls a massive upset he would likely face slayer of dreams Philipp Kohlschreiber, who knocked out Lukas Rosol and Brian Baker at Wimbledon, in the second round.
Mixed fortunes for Canada’s other Olympians
Aleksandra Wozniak will have realistic hopes of making the third round in the Women’s Singles. Wozniak should have a competitive opening round match against Marina Erakovic of New Zealand. After that she faces either Sara Errani or Venus Williams. Errani reached the final in Roland Garros but is far from a consistent force while the elder Williams is not the force she once was.
The doubles events should present Canada’s best hopes for medals on the grass courts of SW19. Pospisil and Daniel Nestor, the latter a gold medallist in Sydney back in 2000, will be expected to beat Romanian duo Horia Tecau and Adrian Ungur in the first round of the Men’s Doubles. With Serbia’s third-seed duo of Janko Tipsarevic and Nenad Zimonjic along with Indiana seventh seeds Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna on the Canadian’s side of the draw, the road to a medal is tough but not impossible.
Wozniak and Stephanie Dubois are in the same side of the Women’s Doubles draw as third seeds Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova. To get a shot at the Russians, Canada’s duo must first overcome a tricky assignment against Yaroslava Shvedova and Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan. The draw for the Mixed Doubles takes place on Tuesday but it is unlikely to feature any Canadian pairings.
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