Montreal | Evans and Edmund runs come to an end
British interest at this year’s Rogers Cup 1000 Masters event in Montreal came to an end when Rafa Nadal and Daniil Medvedev respectively eliminated Dan Evans and Kyle Edmund from the field in the second round.
Daniel is a player that combines an aggressive game with good hands. He’s able to read the game very well, so he knows how to play tennis in terms of tactics, Rafa Nadal
Evans, the British No.2, fought hard but failed to grab the chances which did come his way, especially as the top seeded Nadal, the defending champion chasing his fifth Canadian Open title, was easing his way back into a competitive mode in his first match since losing his Wimbledon semi-final.
Evans, despite breaking Nadal in the first game of a weather-affected match and then leading led 5-2 in the first-set tie-break, was beaten 7-6(6) 6-4.
Meanwhile the British No.1 Edmund was unable to follow up on his excellent win over Nick Kyrgios, as Medvedev, the eighth seed, overran him 6-3 6-0.
Following his win, Nadal, chasing his third title of the season, said: “Today, the main thing was win. I’ve been playing and practising more or less well. Now is the moment to compete. Today I competed well enough to be through. Tomorrow is another challenge.”
And that will be provided by Argentina’s Guido Pella, who beat Radu Albot 6-3 2-6 7-6(2).
Nadal added that re-starting on hard courts after a long post-Wimbledon pause takes some adjustment. “This is just the first day, first matches are always tough the first time on hard court,” he said. “After Wimbledon always the mind goes down a little bit. I had a long clay court season, then grass, so you don’t relax.
“When you finish Wimbledon, your body loses a little bit that tension, so it needs little bit of time to recover.”
He also had praise for his British opponent. “Daniel is a player that combines an aggressive game with good hands. He’s able to read the game very well, so he knows how to play tennis in terms of tactics,” the 18-time grand slam champion said.
“It was a tough first set. Then in the second, I was able to take advantage at the beginning, but then he broke me back. It was so important, that [next] game again to have the break.”
Austrian second seed Dominic Thiem, fresh from winning Kitzbuhel last weekend, claimed his first victory on Canadian soil after five attempts by beating home favourite Denis Shapovalov 6-4 3-6 6-3 and was greatly relieved at finally securing a win. “It’s a great feeling. It’s not only the first match win here, but also against a great player,” he said. “The court is pretty fast. It was a huge transition from clay to here.
“I’m very happy with the way I served. I’m also happy that I could swing free some flat serves again.
“Every win is special in these tournaments because it’s only against great opponents,” Thiem added. “Against Denis, it was special because he’s a local hero. All the crowd was supporting him, so it was tough.”
Thiem faces next the former US Open champion Marin Cilic, who defeated Australian John Millman 6-3 6-4.
Injury-prone Milos Raonic retired to hand 18-year-old fellow Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime a 6-3, 3-6 victory. It was the second retirement that Raonic has suffered when playing his young compatriot.
“I felt generally sore in my back before the match started, but it wasn’t something I was too concerned about. It started going down my leg pretty early into one of my service games,” Raonic, a former finalist at the event, explained. “The last 30 minutes of that match, just because of the situation we’re playing in, being prime time night match here in Montreal, were probably the least enjoyable 30 minutes I’ve spent on a tennis court.”
Auger-Aliassime added: “It was tough to see Milos’ face. He’s a good friend of mine. I remember when we crossed after the second set, I could feel he was pretty sad about something. It wasn’t fun to see him like that. At the end of the day I wish it’s not too bad because it’s tough to see him go out like that.”
The biggest upset of the game was produced by Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz who downed the Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas, last year’s runner-up and this year’s fourth seed, 6-4 3-6 6-3.
“It’s a huge win. Stefanos is an amazing player… I’m so happy that I won,” the Pole said. “I think I served really well today, that helped me a lot.”
Japan’s fifth seed Kei Nishikori was another major casualty losing after 3 hours nine minutes to Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-7(6) 6-2 7-6(4) as was the 12th seeded John Isner, who fell to Chile’s Christian Garín 6-3 6-4