Venus will face Ivanovic in the opening round of the Rogers Cup.

In what will probably be the most anticipated opening match, Venus Williams will take on world No. 18 and 2006 Rogers Cup champion Ana Ivanovic. Venus holds a decisive 7-1 lead in the head-to-head, with the American taking their last meeting at Eastbourne in June in what was her first tournament back since the Australian Open.

Serena Williams, who attended Friday’s draw ceremony alongside sister Venus, will play Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine in her opening match. Serena put an exclamation mark on her comeback by claiming the Stanford title last week, and she will be tested in Toronto, with her next potential opponent being Jelena Jankovic, followed by Kim Clijsters in the third round. Beyond the Williams sisters, all of the Top 20 is in Toronto, meaning the week is sure to be full of compelling tennis from the world’s best. For most players, Rogers Cup really is the big kick-off to their US Open preparation, so a positive run in Canada bodes well for the rest of their season.

The top eight seeds all have byes, with No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and No. 3 Vera Zvonareva sitting on one side of the draw, and No. 2 Clijsters and No. 4 Victoria Azarenka on the opposite side. Should the seeds hold up, Wozniacki would face 2011 French Open champion Li Na in the quarter-finals, while Zvonareva would take on 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova. Maria Sharapova sits in the same quarter as Azarenka, and Francesca Schiavone would be Clijsters’ final eight foe.

Canada’s top player, world No. 41 Rebecca Marino, was drawn a favourable opening round match, facing off against world No. 42 Ekaterina Makarova. Marino will be making her main draw debut in Canada’s biggest tournament, and should she come out with a victory, she’ll face world No. 8 Schiavone in the second round. Stephanie Dubois, whose best Rogers Cup result is the third round, also has a fantastic opportunity to advance to the second round. Her opponent will be a qualifier. Aleksandra Wozniak and Eugenie Bouchard received tougher draws, but both will fight hard in what should be interesting first-round matches. Wozniak will play world No. 21 Shahar Peer, while 17-year-old Bouchard will play Andrea Petkovic, who will be making her Top 10 debut on Monday.

Other first-round matches to look out for include Jelena Jankovic versus Julia Goerges, Flavia Pennetta against Maria Kirilenko, and Nadia Petrova opposite Jarmila Gajdosova.


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