Canada Previews: Roger returns; can Coric improve to 3-1 versus Nadal?

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Borna Coric is just 20 years old, but already owns more wins over Rafael Nadal that most tour veterans. (AP)

Throughout the Rogers Cup tournaments in Montreal (ATP) and Toronto (WTA), we'll preview the upcoming days' must-see matches.

Roger Federer vs. Peter Polansky

Federer will play his first match as a 36-year-old against Polansky, a 29-year-old Canadian. They faced each other the last time Federer ventured north of the border, in 2014, and Federer won 6-2, 6-0. Polansky has had a recent spate of success on the Challenger tour, but Federer has been even better on the regular tour. Winner: Federer

Kei Nishikori vs. Gael Monfils

You know it’s a loaded day when this match is scheduled first up, at 12:30, on the second show court. Nishikori and Monfils have played three times, and each time Nishikori has won in three sets—the last two went to deciding tiebreakers, and both times Monfils had as many chances to win as Nishikori. Can he finally finish the job? I’m not going to bet on it. Winner: Nishikori

Juan Martin del Potro vs. Denis Shapovalov

Del Potro reached the final of this tournament back in 2009, when Shapovalov was all of 10 years old. Now the left-handed Canadian is 18, and he should be in his element on center court, where he put on a show in a three-set win on Monday. But even on those rare occasions when he’s not the crowd favorite, Del Potro is a match, as a showman and a player, for just about anyone. Winner: Del Potro

Simona Halep vs. Magdalena Rybarikova

In the two matches they’ve finished, Rybarikova has emerged the winner, both times in long three-setters. She comes into this match as a lucky loser, entering the draw when Madison Keys pulled out. Rybarikova just finished a magical run to the Wimbledon semifinals, but Halep is looking to start one in Toronto that will take her to No. 1. Winner: Halep

Rafael Nadal vs. Borna Coric

Coric is that rarest of Nadal opponents: One who has a winning record against him. It’s close, of course: The Croatian leads the Spaniard 2-1. But the last time they played, in Cincinnati 12 months ago, Coric won in one-sided fashion, 6-1, 6-3. Coric, at 20, can match the 31-year-old Nadal’s energy and consistency, but he’s also coming off a first-round loss to Ryan Harrison at Wimbledon. Most important, Rafa is better than he was at this time last year, and he’s trying to prove by getting back to No. 1 again. Winner: Nadal

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