Montreal R2 previews and predictions: Thiem vs. Schwartzman, Paire vs. Donaldson

Second-round action at the Masters 1000 event in Montreal will get underway with Dominic Thiem going up against Diego Schwartzman during the Tuesday night session. Benoit Paire and Jared Donaldson are also aiming for a place in the last 16.

Diego Schwartzman vs. (3) Dominic Thiem 

With so many top players behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal sidelined due to injury, a potential stretch of unusual top-four seeds at huge tournaments has begun. This week in Montreal, it is Thiem who owns the No. 3 seed and has a favorable path to a Masters 1000 semifinal. The seventh-ranked Austrian is 39-17 in 2017 and currently third in the race to the World Tour Finals. Thiem, however, has done almost all of his damage on clay and he is coming off a third-round loss in Washington, D.C. to eventual runner-up Kevin Anderson.

Up first for the 23-year-old on Tuesday at the Rogers Cup on the heels of an opening bye is Schwartzman, who is 0-3 in the head-to-head series. The 5’7” Argentine lost to Thiem in straight sets at the 2015 Miami Masters, at the 2016 Rio Open, and earlier this season again in Rio de Janeiro. Heading into this one the odds are stacked against Schwartzman once again even though he has been in fine form throughout the 2017 campaign. The world No. 36 is coming off a three-set battle against Reilly Opelka that lasted two hours and nine minutes. A well-rested Thiem should not have too much trouble getting his week off to a fine start.

Pick: Thiem in 2

Jared Donaldson vs. Benoit Paire

For both Paire and Donaldson, it was a Frenchman vs. an American in the first round. Now another such showdown is in the cards on Tuesday. Paire outlasted Donald Young 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in his opener, while Donaldson upset 13th-seeded Lucas Pouille 7-6(5), 7-6(8). The result is a second career head-to-head contest between Paire and Donaldson, with the Frenchman taking their only previous meeting 6-0, 7-5 last summer in Washington, D.C.

Donaldson, though, is a totally different player a little more than 12 months later. The 20-year-old has earned more than half of his career ATP-level wins this season (13 of 24) and he is coming off a third-round performance last week in the district. Donaldson will be taking the court with additional confidence having reached the last 16 at the Rogers Cup in 2016. Paire has been predictably up and down this year, with a 25-22 record that has him needing a big result in either Montreal or Cincinnati if he wants to be seeded at the U.S. Open. The world No. 41 is playing on a third different surface in the span of four tournaments and this marks just his second hard-court match since late March. This is a great opportunity for an in-form Donaldson to defeat another higher-ranked Frenchman.

Pick: Donaldson in 3

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