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Swiatek, Sabalenka learn path; Wozniacki begins comeback campaign in Montreal | Tennis News

The Canadian Open will be the first of the WTA 1000 events in the build up to the 2023 US Open and on Saturday the draw for the women’s singles event in Montreal was announced as the ‘Big Three’ – World No.1 Iga Swiatek, No.2 Aryna Sablalenka and No.3 Elena Rybakina – learned their paths. The most significant part of the draw was however the inclusion of former No.1 Caroline Wozniacki, who will kick start her comeback campaign on the WTA tour after having announced her retirement in 2020.

WTA Montreal event begins from August 7 onwards
WTA Montreal event begins from August 7 onwards

Repeat of French Open final on cards; focus on Wozniacki

Fresh off her title win in Warsaw, Swiatek heads to Canadian Open for her first ever appearance in the Montreal edition of it with her world No.1 ranking under threat. In a tournament where she has never made it past the third round, both in Toronto in 2019 and 2022, Swiatek will have to at least reach the quarters to keep her ranking in tact. Upon failure, she would only hope that Sabalenka does not emerge as the title winner at the end of next week in Canada.

The Pole will begin her campaign against former world No 1 Karolina Pliskova or China’s Lin Zhu in the second round before possibly running into Karolina Muchova in the next round in a repeat of the French Open final earlier in June.

She also faces possible threat from Mari Sakkari in the quarters, but the eighth seed will have to overcome a tough couple of days in Montreal with a likely meeting against Wimbledon semifinalist Elina Svitolina in the second round followed by one between 11th seed Beatriz Haddad Maia, Spain’s Paula Badosa or former US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez waiting in the third round.

The main attraction of the draw was however Wozniacki, who will be playing her first ever tournament since announcing her retirement three years back. The former Australian Open winner has been handed a wild card in the event and will open her campaign against a qualifier before running into newly-crowned Wimbledon winner Marketa Vondroušová in the second round followed by sixth seed Coco Gauff.

This section of the draw also includes world No.4 Jessica Pegula, who made the Citi Open semis. She could likely run into compatriot Madison Keys, who will be up against wild card entrant and seven-time Grand Slam singles winner Venus Williams.

Another tough draw for Rybakina

The world No.3 has been handed another difficult draw as she will open her campaign in the second round against the winner of former Grand Slam winner Jelena Ostapenko and comeback-bound American Jennifer Brady, who had made the Australian Open final in 2021 before running into one between two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka or former US Open winner Sloane Stephens in the third round.

Sabalenka, who would be hoping for the WTA ranking crown at the end of her campaign in Canada or at least reduce the gap atop in the build up to the US Open, will likely begin her tournament against 5th seed Liudmila Samsonova, who made the Citi Open semis this week before running into Petra Kvitova in the quarters. But the Czech would have to go past a difficult start to ensure a Sabalenka meeting. She has former US Open winner Bianca Andreescu waiting in the second round with a possible third-round match against 12th seed Belinda Bencic.

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