Day three of the National Bank Open, presented by Rogers, is always a special day in the tournament. It was the first day that almost every single player participated in the tournament. including the top 7 seeds from the top 8 and a court packed with the highest level of tennis talent the ATP Tour has to offer.
World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz debuts in Toronto tonight at 7pm on Center Court against American Ben Shelton promising to win in straight sets. Alcaraz played once at last summer’s Canadian Masters 1000 in Montreal. Defeated by Tommy Paul, he’s been a huge hit this year and judging by the response from the fans here, it’ll be exciting to see him continue on Sunday.
Tuesday is also a day of pride at NBO, an all-encompassing initiative we’ve seen before at the event. Rainbow wristbands were handed out when the doors opened this morning. And it’s great to see those flags, along with the Pride flag, proudly displayed as well. My kids are still rocking wristbands years ago. And it’s a good message to share throughout the year. Not just during tournaments.
In other big off-court news, the Unmatched Gender Equity in Sports conference was hosted by former world No. 1 and five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova. But Sharapova was runner-up in 2009, where she lost to Elena Dementieva. “Inspire participants to focus on equality and make long-term and sustainable change within their communities.”
Read more: Follow results from Round Two Live.
Wednesday’s No. 6 Mackenzie Macdonald made a comeback to beat No. 6 Andrey Rublev 6-4, 6-3. Rublev struggled on his serve. putting only 40 percent of his first balls into play, while McDonald seems relentless in playing one of the tournament’s biggest names.
McDonald is now through to the third round. He will face Milos Raonic in a match few would have expected to see in the third round.
Raonic faced little difficulty beating semi-finalist Taro Daniel and progressed with a 6-4, 6-3 victory. When asked about how he feels about his game now, Milos said, “Say. Honestly, after playing well in the first round. Haven’t played in a very long time. I didn’t expect to play. say today I know it’s going to be hard… But I think I’m doing pretty well. And I think I will play better tomorrow. Hopefully I can make it.”
With Rublev missing from this part of the draw This could be a big debut for Raonic going deeper into his hometown tournament than expected after returning from a two-year hiatus. He has enjoyed success in the past having reached the quarterfinals three times in Toronto. And, of course, he made it to the finals in Montreal in 2013 memorably.
Fast forward to the night and the tournament everyone has been waiting for. It was the debut match in Toronto for the 20-year-old world No. 1 and recent Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz. Across the street was fellow 20-year-old American Ben Shelton. It was truly a glimpse into the future of the sport. And it looks good!
The center court was packed for the match. And Alcaraz received a thunderous applause as he walked away. Shelton tested him early on. and was with the Spanish boss throughout the tournament Although Alcaraz won 6-3, 7-6(3), it was a tight match. Each player had three breaks during their encounter with Alcaraz who converted once in the opening set.
Shelton has been impressed with his booming serve, which regularly passes the 230 kph mark. And for big men, it also shows great foot speed. There is definitely a chance to be in the top 10 in the future.
meanwhile Algaraz summed up his first Toronto experience as follows: “It was really good, to be honest, I really enjoyed my first game in Toronto. It looks like I’ve been playing here for years.”
Tennis fans hope he will play here for days at this tournament. But he will have to pass his next hurdle, 15th seed Hubert Hurkacz, in the opening match of the session Thursday evening.
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