First Round Matches to Watch in Montreal


As the sixth Masters 1000 tournament of the season begins, LWOT looks at the most exciting first-round matches in Montreal this week.

(14)John Isner vs Juan Marin Del Potro

After withdrawing from the Citi Open this past week, American John Isner will return to action in Montreal. He faces the player who all the seeds want to avoid in Argentinian Juan Martin Del Potro. This will be the 8th meeting between the two, with Del Potro leading the H2H 5-2. Both have had their fair share of physical issues lately, but each of them are threats to go deep in tournaments on the North American hard court swing. Whoever manages to make it through will likely be the third-round opponent for the #1 seed Rafael Nadal.

Gael Monfils vs Steve Johnson

I don’t think there’s a player on tour who needs a win as badly as Frenchman Gael Monfils. After losing his last two matches to Rogerio Dutra Silva and Yuki Bhambri, Monfils will now face an even tougher test in American Steve Johnson. It’ll be the first meeting between the two with all the pressure being on Monfils having to defend semifinal points from last year. It also doesn’t get any easier for either with Kei Nishikori on deck for the winner.
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(WC)Brayden Schnur vs Richard Gasquet

If Richard Gasquet was in form I don’t think this would be much of a match, but he hasn’t played since his first round Wimbledon loss to David Ferrer, and hasn’t played on a hard court since Marseille in February. #194 ranked wildcard Brayden Schnur is a former two time NCAA All-American; after forgoing his senior season at University of North Carolina, Schnur has put together a nice season with two Futures titles. Playing Gasquet will obviously be a step up, but Schnur is definitely capable of playing good enough tennis to pull off the upset in front of his home crowd.
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(13)Lucas Pouille vs Jared Donaldson

After falling to Tommy Paul in Washington, D.C., Lucas Pouille will try to avoid his second straight loss to a NextGen American player as he faces Jared Donaldson. Donaldson typically plays well on hard courts and can be a tough opponent for Pouille as he’s lacking confidence at the moment. It’s also a great opportunity for Lucas Pouille to get back in the win column and get going this summer as he has a quarterfinals appearance to defend in a couple of weeks at the US Open.

(Q)Reilly Opelka vs Diego Schwartzman

After losing six straight matches coming in, 6’11” American Reilly Opelka successfully qualified in Montreal after beating fellow American Ernesto Escobedo 6-2 6-3 in the final round of qualifying in under an hour. His first round opponent is diminutive (5’7″) Argentinian Diego Schwartzman. It’s an interesting contrast in styles between the two, but it’s a very favorable draw for Opelka who is looking to win his first tour level match since February in Memphis, and what would be his second on the season.
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(16)Nick Kyrgios vs Viktor Troicki

The biggest question coming in to this match has to be which Nick Kyrgios is going to show up? After retiring last week against American Tennys Sandgren citing a shoulder injury, Kyrgios returns to Montreal for the first time since his incident with Stan Wawrinka in 2015. I’m not sure anyone knows what to expect from this match, but it has potential to be one of the better first round matches if both players play their best tennis.

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