Montreal R1 previews and predictions: Carreno Busta vs. Khachanov, Sock vs. Herbert

An intriguing first-rounder on Tuesday in Montreal pits recent French Open standouts Pablo Carreno Busta and Karen Khachanov against each other. Jack Sock and Pierre-Hugues Herbert are also on the schedule.

(11) Pablo Carreno Busta vs. Karen Khachanov

Carreno Busta and Khachanov will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers when they clash in round one of the Rogers Cup on Tuesday. Their only previous encounter came a few months ago on the clay courts of Monte-Carlo, where Carreno Busta got the job done 6-4, 6-4. The 15th-ranked Spaniard continued his clay-court success with a title in Estoril and a run to the quarterfinals at Roland Garros. He has not won a match since retiring against Rafael Nadal in the quarters due to an abdominal injury.

Khachanov also made plenty of noise in Paris, ousting Tomas Berdych and John Isner before succumbing to world No. 1 Andy Murray in the last 16. The 21-year-old Russian, who is up to the 30th in the world, also fared decently on grass with a semifinal showing in Halle (lost to Roger Federer) and a third-round performance at Wimbledon (lost to Rafael Nadal). In fine form, Khachanov will likely take an advantage of an opponent who has mostly been away from the game the past couple of months.

Pick: Khachanov in 2

(15) Jack Sock vs. (Q) Pierre-Hugues Herbert

Sock has never been comfortable on grass, so it was not much of a surprise to see him skip the Wimbledon warmup events and then lose in round two at the All-England Club. But the 17th-ranked American also struggled to find his footing in Washington, D.C., where he reached the semifinals but then blasted the court conditions after falling to eventual runner-up Kevin Anderson. Still, it was a decent result for Sock following his early Wimbledon exit and a 6-4, 6-1 setback against Kyle Edmund in the Atlanta quarterfinals.

Up first in Montreal for the No. 15 seed is a third career meeting with Herbert, who trails the head-to-head series 2-0. Sock prevailed 6-7(5), 6-2, 7-6(5), 6-4 three years ago at Wimbledon and 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-3 earlier this season at the Australian Open. An established force in doubles, Herbert is starting to improve his singles game and he currently registers four spots off his career-high ranking at 69th in the world. The Frenchman qualified for the main draw this week with victories over Luke Saville and Mikhail Youzhny. Sock, though, also has plenty of hard-court matches under his belt already and should be able to continue his success at Herbert’s expense.

Pick: Sock in 3

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