- Kaitlyn McGrath at Eh Game8 hrs ago
TORONTO — All along, the two men who had been the faces of the tournament were meant to face off. But for parts throughout Friday night at the Rogers Cup, it looked as if neither might get there.
Since the draw was set a week ago, many predicted Novak Djokovic, the world No. 1, and Milos Raonic, Canada’s top-ranked player, would inevitably meet in a semifinal. But this is sport where everything is penciled in and nothing is for sure. That was no more evident than this night on Centre Court at the Aviva Centre.
Both Djokovic and Raonic wavered in their respective quarter-finals. Ultimately, Djokovic survived the test, beating Tomas Berdych 7-6(6), 6-4. Raonic, however, did not.
Instead, it was the Frenchman Gael Monfils, the ATP’s hottest player right now, who won his ninth straight match by a score of 6-4, 6-4 to oust the six-foot-five Canadian from his hometown tournament.
- Kaitlyn McGrath at Eh Game17 hrs ago
TORONTO — The salad bar is stocked with whatever topping you could desire. There’s a pasta bar — gluten-free option available — where your entrée is made to order. There’re two choices of proteins – chicken or beef. There’s garlic bread, a cheese platter, fruit and desserts, to name just a few choices available at the buffet in the players' restaurant at the Rogers Cup.
Tournament organizers want Toronto to feel like home away from home for the players who travel from across the globe to play here. Part of that is making sure they are fed — and fed well.
Who makes sure that happens is Al Salomon, a man small in stature, but big in personality. His infectious joy shines through on a walk toward the tournament’s pair of kitchens — the central nervous system of this whole operation — as he greets his employees he sees on the way, showering each with compliments in each brief, yet friendly exchange.
- Gavin Day at Eh Game21 hrs ago
The allure of playing soccer in Europe is often hard for young North American players to resist. As the place where the game is the centre of the sporting universe, players have gone abroad to find their place -- but not all leagues are created equally.
Tosaint Ricketts has had more than his share of misadventures playing in Europe, joining Toronto FC after a problematic stint with Boluspor in Turkey. Boluspor simply wasn’t paying Ricketts, which is similar to his situation with Romania’s Politehnica Timisoara, with whom he played from 2010 to ‘12. That time, Ricketts had to fight the Romanian Football Federation to become a free agent.
There were good times for Ricketts as well, but he knows well the dangers of certain leagues over in Europe.
“There are places that you should avoid and places that are amazing for young players,” Ricketts told Yahoo Canada Sports, after his debut last weekend against DC United. “I can give advice on where to go. I can also give them advice on how good they have it here and how they should appreciate the conditions that TFC provides and MLS provides for its players. It’s a great environment for players to grow and conditions are top-notch.”
- Stephanie Myles at Eh Game22 hrs ago
MONTREAL – As Genie Bouchard tumbled out of the Rogers Cup Thursday, along with No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska and the popular Venus Williams, the energy around the Montreal edition sort of went ...pfffffffft.
And in the end, one of the semi-finalists will be either Johanna Konta of Great Britain or qualifier Kristina Kucova, who defeated Bouchard. That only serves to underscore what a great opportunity Bouchard's nerves caused her to miss. It also has proven a golden opportunity for young American Madison Keys (who defeated a diminished Williams) has to get to the final.
On the other side of the draw, a semi-final between Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber, seeded No. 5 and No.2, would be the best outcome but those are not done deals; Kerber, who is not 100 per cent healthy, somehow managed to escape a match she seemed on the way to losing against Elina Svitolina, but she may not have much left.
In Toronto, the draw has turned out to be extremely top heavy, and a great opportunity for No. 2 seed Stan Wawrinka in the bottom half.
With the Rogers Cup quarter-finals in sight, Eugenie Bouchard presses the panic button against Kristina KucovaStephanie Myles at Eh Game1 day ago
MONTREAL – It was all falling into place for Genie Bouchard this week.
And then, almost as suddenly, it all fell apart Thursday night.
Bouchard was up a set and a break in the second set – twice – before succumbing to the pressure and nerves that had accumulated throughout her run this week at the Rogers Cup.
One cracked racquet (and a code violation warning) later, it was all over as qualifier Kristina Kucova of Slovakia upset Bouchard 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 and moved onto the quarter-finals while a disappointed Bouchard was left musing on how it was so close, only to slip away.
“I think I had more emotions tonight on the court, match after match, day after day with all that attention and all the support of the crowd – it’s great, but it added a bit of pressure and I didn’t manage that very well for my third match,” a downcast Bouchard said.
It began so well – a quick 4-0 lead with Bouchard having little trouble handling Kucova’s pretty average serve and taking the lead in the baseline rallies.
- Kaitlyn McGrath at Eh Game1 day ago
TORONTO — Growing up, the Rogers Cup was the only tennis tournament Milos Raonic attended as a spectator. For that reason, this place holds sentimental value for the seventh-ranked Canadian.
“ It's definitely one of the more significant achievements I'd like to reach,” he said about one day winning the title at the only Canadian ATP Tour stop. “Hopefully I can make it count this time around, and it's what I'm training for. My focus is not anywhere, any further along to any other tournaments coming up other than this tournament at this moment.”
On an overcast Thursday evening, Raonic got one step closer to that goal as he cruised to a 6-2, 6-3 win over USA's Jared Donaldson to advance to the quarter-finals of the Rogers Cup on Centre Court at the Aviva Centre.
Raonic opened the match with a 235-kilometre per hour serve that his opponent could only block with his racket before the ball ricocheted out of play. Raonic would hit a few more like that, plus one that clocked in at 236 km/h. Fittingly, he ended the match with a cool 230 km/h ace up the middle.
- Chris Zelkovich at Eh Game1 day ago
Olympic marathon swimmers, sailors and windsurfers have always had a defined skill set: strength, balance and coordination.
Now, thanks to the organizers of the upcoming Rio Games, they'll have to add another: the ability to keep their mouths closed during competitions.
That's what health officials are advising after organizers admitted that clean-up efforts at Rio de Janeiro's Guanabara Bay have failed and competitors will basically be swimming in a large outdoor toilet bowl.
One doctor told the New York Times that competitors ``will literally be swimming in human crap."
Outside of the fact that this creates a potential treasure trove of unavoidable newspaper headlines (Olympians flush with pride at Rio, Medal hopes go down the tubes, Crappy performances dog Games), it adds yet another unsavoury layer to the problems facing Rio.
- Chris Young at Eh Game2 days ago
When it came to designing a cutting-edge bikini for the upcoming Rio Games' women's beach volleyballers, it turns out the leap from Lululemon's yoga wear foundation to the Olympic rings is not that much of a stretch at all.
The Vancouver-based company signed a deal last year with Volleyball Canada to outfit the men's and women's national teams, and is endorsing and outfitting a handful of athletes in Rio in other sports as well. The unis were designed and tested over a six-month period with the help of 3D technology, in-studio sessions with those athletes and a "climate simulation chamber" that purports to mimic the sun, sand and sweaty humidity of Rio's Copacabana Beach, site of the beach volleyball competition that begins Aug. 6 for the four Canadian teams that comprise the country's biggest-ever Olympic contingent in the sport.
- Stephanie Myles at Eh Game2 days ago
MONTREAL – The rest of the Canadians are out of the singles now, leaving just the king and queen of the Canadian tennis prom, Genie Bouchard and Milos Raonic, to fight for the flag.
For Raonic, who only made his debut Wednesday, a qualifier in the third round is probably just fine with him. For Bouchard, who is in the third round of the Rogers Cup for the first time (this is her ninth trip - hard to believe), a qualifier is also just what the doctor ordered.
The best match on paper, for the women, would be between future Olympic teammates Venus Williams, 36 and Madison Keys, 21, the No. 6 and No. 10 seeds.
But will it? There are definitely health concerns for Venus, who was just lobbing in her serve by the end of her second-round match Wednesday against Barbora Strycova. She was typically cagey afterwards about the nature of the problem.
In addition to Raonic's night match, perhaps the match that might produce the most sparks in Toronto will be the doubles clash between Canadians Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil, reunited before the Rio Games, and Jack Sock and Nick Kyrgios.
Eugenie Bouchard easily dispatches Dominika Cibulkova to move into the Rogers Cup third round for the first timeStephanie Myles at Eh Game2 days ago
MONTREAL – Things are falling into place for Genie Bouchard at this Rogers Cup, in that same way they did in 2014 in that when the draws opened up and opportunity knocked, the 22-year-old Montrealer eagerly answered the door.
After a surprisingly routine 6-2, 6-0 win over No. 11 Dominika Cibulkova Wednesday night, Bouchard faces a potentialy far easier task Thursday night when she faces a qualifier, No. 121-ranked Kristina Kucova, for a spot in the Rogers Cup quarter-finals.
If she can win that one, her quarter-final opponent would be the winner between Johanna Konta (whom she beat earlier this month at Wimbledon, on Konta's home ground) or lucky loser Varvara Lepchenko of the U.S., who occupies the very top spot in the draw first owned by Serena Williams and then, after her withdrawal, by No. 3 Garbiñe Muguruza (who also withdrew).