Schedule of play:
Venus Williams vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
I firmly believe that Venus is playing at least top 20 level tennis currently. She has the ability to upset a few top players, but when it becomes a long drawn 3-setter, she loses out with her lack of stamina. Against Pavlyuchenkova, Venus should be able to overcome the Russian. The volatile Russian is capable of producing some fine shots of her own, but she's unable to string them together. I think Venus has the potential to reach at least the quarter-finals here.
Pick: Venus in 2 sets
Victoria Azarenka vs. Alize Cornet
Azarenka's return from injury has not been kind to her. She's taking baby steps at the moment, but she seems to be improving with every match. In a way, Cornet will be a perfect test for Azarenka to see if she's ready to play top-tier tennis. Alize's game will make Victoria hit plenty of balls, so Azarenka will need to balance between defense and offense well. If she can handle Alize in convincing fashion, I believe the world number 1 Azarenka is back.
Pick: Azarenka in 3 sets
Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Madison Keys
Recent Washington winner Svetlana Kuznetsova will attempt to bring her good form here to Montreal, but she faces the big hitting American, Madison Keys. Fatigue will definitely be a factor for the Russian as she's no longer a spring chicken. Nevertheless, I think Svetlana has the experience on her side, as she will attempt to make Keys win the point on her own accord. Once Kuznetsova gets on a roll, she's a tough customer to handle.
Pick: Kuznetsova in 2 tight sets
Sure win bets: Ana Ivanovic, Eugenie Bouchard, Garbine Muguruza
Upset alert: Zhang Shuai, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova