Three to See, Canada: Venus-Svitolina, Rafa-Shapovalov, Zverev-Kyrgios

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Williams and Svitolina have been two of the WTA’s most surprising successes of 2017. (AP)

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

Venus Williams [9] vs. Elina Svitolina [5]

Williams and Svitolina have been two of the WTA’s most surprising successes of 2017. The Ukrainian has cracked the Top 10, won four titles and has a career-best 37-8 record. Williams, meanwhile, has reached two Grand Slam finals in one season for the first time since 2003. These two have played just once, on clay in 2015, and Williams won. Her form at the moment says she should win again.

Winner: Williams

Nick Kyrgios [16] vs. Alexander Zverev [4]

The ATP’s two leading young guns have met twice, both times on U.S. hard courts, both times this spring. In the first match, a 21-year-old Kyrgios took a 19-year-old Zverev to school, and showed what a difference the two years that separate them can make. Three weeks later, Zverev showed how quickly a good young player can narrow that gap by pushing Kyrgios to a third set. This time I’m thinking the gap widens again. Zverev, after winning in D.C. and squeaking past Richard Gasquet on Wednesday, has an excuse for being a step slow. If he is, he’ll struggle.

Winner: Kyrgios

Rafael Nadal [1] vs. Denis Shapovalov [WC]

There’s something Rafa-like about the 18-year-old Shapovalov. He’s a lefty, he has a high-energy swagger and he loves to work the rally around so he can crack an inside forehand. This showcase night match will be the first meeting between the Canadian and the Spaniard. Shapovalov has a lot going for him: He’s coming off a rousing breakthrough win over Juan Martin del Potro, he’s going to have the crowd behind him and his forehand should be effective against Nadal’s crosscourt forehand. But this feels, right now, like it’s a win too far for the teen.

Winner: Nadal

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