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State of the top eight players

8/17/2009 - Tennis

The Masters 1000 in Montreal marked the first time since ATP rankings began in 1973 that the top eight ranked players all made the quarterfinals of a tournament. We assess the results of their stay in Canada, along with ESPN commentator and famed coach Brad Gilbert's verdict on the emerging U.S. Open contenders:

Roger Federer

The good: The first week of traveling with the twins in tow went off without a hitch, he reported.

The bad: Back to hard courts, back to blowing leads? He squandered a 5-1 lead in the third set versus Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinals.

The revealing: What a difference a 15th Slam makes. No tears or scowls after this defeat: "It's a loss I can live with."

Brad's take: "He hardly ever loses something like that. The only thing that matters for Mr. Federer is the majors -- and at the business end of a [Grand Slam] tournament, he's always there."

Rafael Nadal

The good: In just his third match back since the French Open, held a 5-2 lead in the first-set tiebreaker against red-hot Juan Martin del Potro

The bad: Lost that tiebreaker and got only one more game in the second set. "It was hard to stay concentrated the whole match," he said.

The revealing: The Spaniard spent the better part of half an hour signing autographs when compatriot David Ferrer retired after just seven games in their second-round match. He also signed autographs and posed for pictures when leaving the site after his loss to del Potro, even though it was after midnight.

Brad's take: "Nadal just needs a couple more matches after a couple of months out."

Andy Murray

The good: Won the title 6-7 (4), 7-6 (3), 6-1 over del Potro and became the first player in four years other than Federer or Nadal to be ranked No. 2.

The bad: Often found himself being dominated by del Potro until the Argentine tired, and needs to find a counterattack by the U.S. Open to avoid being sent out by big hitter for a fourth straight Slam.

The revealing: "Hit the serve!" Murray yelled to himself during the final.

Brad's take: "Murray did a really good job of just keeping it together and maintaining closeness when it looked like maybe this thing could get away from him. The difference between the two of them -- fitness."

Juan Martin del Potro

The good: So near: He was four points away from his first Masters title.

The bad: Yet so far: Del Potro won just one game in the third set and received treatment for shoulder and thigh problems. The 20-year-old has worked on strengthening his legs to improve his serve and is making a genuine effort to come into net more frequently, but his stamina is still not at the highest level.

The revealing: He played 24 sets in two weeks, winning Washington and reaching the Montreal final before running out of gas halfway through the match. Winning seven best-of-five matches at the U.S. Open would take between 21 and 35 sets over two weeks.

Brad's take: "He's massively improved his serve and his game. The next component to maybe winning a major is being supremely fit, and the U.S. Open is the only major you've got to play back-to-back days [in the semifinals and final]."

Andy Roddick

The good: Continued his solid form following the run at Wimbledon, defeating Novak Djokovic convincingly in the quarterfinals.

The bad: Also continued his pattern of close losses, letting a lead slip away against del Potro for the second week in a row. Roddick even held a match point this time, but his general dissatisfaction with his serve was compounded when he served a double fault to go down 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 in the semifinals.

The revealing: Roddick has now won three straight matches over the fourth-ranked Djokovic, but promptly extinguished any WTA-like debate over whether he's the "real" No. 4: No. Rankings don't lie.

Brad's take: "He's moving way better than I've ever seen him move, and that's allowed him to do a lot of things different out there on the court. He's cut down his unforced errors a ton; he's hitting his backhand a lot better. Things are definitely looking up for Andy Roddick."

Novak Djokovic

The good: Trying to jump-start his results, Djokovic has added former top-10 player Todd Martin to his coaching team. The two will being working together next week.

The bad: Martin will have plenty to work on, as Djokovic looked conflicted and error-prone during his straight-sets loss to Roddick in the quarterfinals.

The revealing: Serving at 3-1 in the second set against Roddick, Djokovic would have won the game if he had not sportingly indicated that Roddick's shot might have been in. Roddick challenged, won the replayed point, the game -- and eventually the set and the match.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

The good: Showed a lot of fight to come from 1-5 in the third set and shock Federer 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-6 (3) the Montreal quarterfinals.

The bad: It's his best result since winning Marseille all the way back in February, and the first time he's won three matches in a row since the French Open.

The revealing: "J'adore!" said Tsonga when asked if he liked Montreal. He's clearly much more comfortable when playing in a French-speaking city, but unfortunately for Tsonga, French isn't the lingua franca of the tour most weeks.

Nikolay Davydenko

The good: Has won 14 of his past 16 matches, including clay-court titles at Umag and Hamburg. Davydenko reached the quarterfinals in Montreal, where he lost to eventual champion Murray.

The bad: Hardly anyone has noticed.

The revealing: Davydenko was the only quarterfinalist not asked to give a single press conference during the week.

Kamakshi Tandon is a freelance tennis writer for ESPN.com.