All-Canadian first-rounder at Rogers Cup

MARK KEAST -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:27 AM ET

Among a series of storylines that emerged out of yesterday's draw for the Rogers Cup was an all-Canadian, first-round matchup set for tomorrow that caught people's attention.

Frank Dancevic, from Niagara Falls, No. 96 in the ATP rankings, will go up against Peter Polansky of Thornhill, the junior whose battle back after a horrific fall from a third-floor hotel room in Mexico City in April made news around the tennis world.

The fact that two of four Canadian wild-card entries in a tournament featuring 64 players would draw each other in the first round is either fortunate or unfortunate, depending on how one spins it.

Dancevic felt that drawing his Davis Cup teammate and friend wasn't such a great thing.

"I guess it's good that one of us will make the second round," he said, trying to look at the bright side.

For Dancevic, this is his biggest tournament of the season.

His Davis Cup coach, Martin Laurendeau, says Dancevic has rebounded nicely since losing both matches at a Davis Cup tournament in Mexico, the event Polansky was at when he suffered his injuries.

Dancevic, who won a Challenger series event last weekend in Granby, Que. -- his second title of the season -- has moved from to No. 96 to No. 189 in seven months, making him the top-ranked Canadian singles player for the Rogers Cup.

"Frank wants to be more consistent," Laurendeau said. "He has tremendous momentum going into (tomorrow's) match. He is playing smarter points now. His experience (three years on the tour) is starting to kick in a bit. Peter has all this fortune behind him."

Polansky's comeback after taking more than 420 stitches to both legs -- millimeters from severing the femoral artery, which potentially would have been fatal -- is the talk of the Canadian tennis community, according to tournament director Grant Connell.

That and the number of junior Canadian male players, such as Polansky, Dancevic, and North Vancouver's Philip Bester, rising through the ranks.

"There is no real pressure on me (going into tomorrow)," Polansky said. "After (the accident), I wasn't expecting to play in this. In early July, I started playing well. My speed might be a bit weaker than before the accident, but I think my anticipation skills have stepped up. I feel good."

Several other interesting storylines shook loose after yesterday's draw, all the product of what some are calling a "blockbuster field" for the Rogers Cup compared to other ATP and Masters Series events this year: Nine of the top 10 players and 18 of the top 20 are taking part.

One is the possibility of a third-round all-American matchup between Americans James Blake and Andy Roddick, ranked 10th.

Blake, fifth in ATP rankings, takes on Bester, one of the four wild-card entries along with Dancevic and Polansky, in the first round. Toronto's Daniel Nestor, known more for his doubles exploits, is the other wild-card.

None of the three Canadians trying to earn qualifying spots in the tournament -- Pierre-Ludovic Duclos of Ste. Foy, Que., Milan Pokrajac of Mississauga, and Rob Steckley of Thornhill -- were able to advance.

The Rogers Cup, with a total purse of $2.45 million US, runs until Aug. 13.


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