The US Open road for Canadians Vasek Pospisil and Milos Raonic goes through world No. 1 Novak Djokovic

Eh Game
Serbia's Novak Djokovic (L) and Canada's Vasek Pospisil shake hands after the draw for the Davis Cup semi-finals in Belgrade September 12, 2013. Serbia will face Canada in the Davis Cup semi-final match on Friday. REUTERS/Marko Djurica (SERBIA - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

Serbia's Djokovic and Canada's Pospisil shake hands after draw for Davis Cup semi-finals in Belgrade

Serbia's Novak Djokovic (L) and Canada's Vasek Pospisil shake hands after the draw for the Davis Cup semi-finals in Belgrade September 12, 2013. Serbia will face Canada in the Davis Cup semi-final match on Friday. REUTERS/Marko Djurica (SERBIA - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

For the first round, at least, The Canadian men in the singles draw at the US Open have to be considered the favourites as the final Grand Slam of the season gets under way Monday.

After that, well, it gets a little complicated.

Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil, unseeded, will play Andreas Haider-Maurer of Austria in the first round, a player ranked lower than he is and whom he has beaten twice on fast indoor hard courts – albeit both in 2012.

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After that, he could get world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. That's the lot of the unseeded player, although it could have been worse; Pospisil could have faced Djokovic, or Roger Federer, or Andy Murray in the first round.

But it also could have been a whole lot better.

Pospisil gets Haider-Maurer in a kind first-round draw. (USOpen.org)
Pospisil gets Haider-Maurer in a kind first-round draw. (USOpen.org)

(Click here to see the entire men's singles draw).

Meanwhile, Milos Raonic is seeded No. 10, and drew American Tim Smyczek in the first round. Smyczek, 27, is just inside the top 100 at No. 95 and doesn't have many weapons with which to hurt Raonic – assuming the back woes that have bedeviled the Canadian this summer are behind him.

Raonic's road is no picnic; his second-round opponent will be the winner between 37-year-old Tommy Haas, ranked No. 497 but in on a special injury protection ranking, and tough Spanish lefty Fernando Verdasco. 

The first round might be routine; after that, Raonic's road gets intense. (USOpen.org)
The first round might be routine; after that, Raonic's road gets intense. (USOpen.org)

It has been more than two years since they last met but their head-to-head record is 3-3; Verdasco has won all three meetings on clay, while Raonic has won all three meetings on hard courts. All, though, have been close, tough encounters.

Projecting further, Raonic's road could next meet No. 16 seed Feliciano Lopez, another veteran Spanish lefty. That one's beyond tricky. Lopez defeated Raonic in Toronto at the Rogers Cup last summer, and again a few weeks ago in Cincinnati. In between, Raonic eked out a five-setter in the fourth round of the Australian Open. 

The winner of that third-round match could well get Nadal, seeded No. 8. And the winner of THAT one could get Djokovic. Simply put, Raonic, running on very little match play over the last few months, has an uphill battle.

On the women's side, there is only one Canadian entry, Genie Bouchard.

There are some vanquished opponents in her section; still, Bouchard will have to beat them again. (USOpen.org)
There are some vanquished opponents in her section; still, Bouchard will have to beat them again. (USOpen.org)

(The complete women's singles draw is here).

Her path is a little more encouraging, although there have been no gimmes for the 21-year-old from Montreal this season. Still, her little section of the draw include a couple of players she has actually defeated in 2015 – a fact that new mentor Jimmy Connors no doubt will stress to her.

First up is American Alison Riske, a player whose style is not dissimilar and who also, in previous years, was coached by Quebecer Yves Boulais.

Bouchard has won the last four meetings between the two, most recently in the first round of Eastbourne, on grass, in June. Next up could be Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan.

Diyas, just four months older than Bouchard and ranked No. 34 to Bouchard's No. 25, is another player Bouchard has beaten this season – in the second round on the clay in Rome.

Given the Canadian's struggles, there's not much point in looking further ahead. But her first seeded opponent, on paper, would be Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, a player Bouchard has beaten twice (we'll put aside the loss at the WTA Finals in Singapore last October because, let's face it, that week is best forgotten).

In addition to regular doubles participants Gabriela Dabrowski, Daniel Nestor and Pospisil, there is one more name that might be added to the list Friday.

NCAA Doubles National Champions Erin Routliffe and Maya Jansen. Photo by Spencer Moore (rolltide.com)
NCAA Doubles National Champions Erin Routliffe and Maya Jansen. Photo by Spencer Moore (rolltide.com)

Former national training centre junior Erin Routliffe, currently starring for the University of Alabama's women's tennis squad, entered the national US Open playoff in women's doubles with Maya Jansen. The two won their southern division and have won three matches to reach the final phase of the playoff, which is being held concurrently with the women's WTA Tour event in New Haven, Conn. this week.

If they win their match Friday, they will earn a wild card into the US Open women's doubles draw – no small accomplishment. Routliffe, 20, hasn't played many pro events since she began college; her current doubles ranking stands at No. 578. But she and Jansen have won the NCAA doubles title the last two years. 

The NCAA singles champions in the U.S. earn wild cards into the singles main draws at the US Open, but that's not the case for the doubles champions.

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