Montreal | Medvedev aims to stop Nadal defending his title
Gael Monfils won his rain-delayed quarter-final but then couldn’t, after just a few hours rest, return to the court to take on Rafa Nadal under the lights for a place in the Rogers Cup Masters 1000 final in Montreal.
If I am able to play like this, it’s not going to be easy for Rafa,. It’s going to be a big battle. Daniil Medvedev
The French showman beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4 3-6 7-6(2) in a match delayed more than 18 hours picking up an ankle injury in the process.
It was a major disappointment for Monfils who loves to play and entertain but he admitted that the decision to pull out was a sensible one. Had he had a day’s rest, he and his coach, believe he could have recovered sufficiently to take on the defending champion.
“I love these matches, night session, Rafa,” Monfils said. “I play tennis for that — for the big moments, big shows.”
He would have had just 2-and-a-half hours of rest had he agreed to the stay on schedule so it was a big ask.
“It’s the first tournament since my comeback,” said Monfils, who pulled out of Wimbledon last month because of the same injured ankle. “I have to take into account I was going to play against Rafa. Against Rafa, you have to be 100 per cent.”
With a chance to collect his fifth Canadian Open, Nadal takes on Daniil Medvedev in the final after the Russian defeated countryman Karen Khachanov 6-1 7-6(6) in the other semi.
The Russians — both 23, six foot six and from Moscow — were playing for bragging rights as well as a place in the final, shook hands and embraced afterwards as Medvedev leveled his tour record against Khachanov at 1-1.
“If I am able to play like this, it’s not going to be easy for Rafa,” Medvedev said afterwards. “It’s going to be a big battle.”
But looking ahead at what would be his first meeting with Rafa, the eighth seed added: “It’s extra special. I played Novak (Djokovic) and Roger (Federer) a few times.
“It’s different … there is some extra pressure. I won’t be intimidated. I want to win every match I play. Hopefully I can do it.”
Medvedev, who made last week’s final in Washington, declared: “It’s fun to play them. That’s what I have been working for all my life. As a kid I saw them winning Grand Slams on TV.”
He is the first Russian to make the men’s final since Marat Safin won the event back in 2000 when it was called the du Maurier Open. Saturday also marked the first time in the 30-year-old history of the Masters 1000 Series that two Russians had competed in a semi-final.