Montreal | Nadal on cruise control
Rafa Nadal edged closer to a record 35th Masters 1000 title by dispatching Argentina’s Guido Pella 6-3 6-4 to power into the quarter-finals of the Rogers Cup 1000 Masters in Montreal in what was the Spaniard’s 379th win at a Masters event.
It can be beautiful to play in tough conditions. The player with more options has the better chance to survive Rafa Nadal
Nadal the defending champion who is going for a fourth Canadian Open title, completed his victory with an ace on his fourth match point to make his ninth appearance in the last eight of the event.
Nadal will play Fabio Fognini for a semi-final berth, the Italian having beaten France’s Adrian Mannarino 6-2 7-5.
“It was a tough day in terms of wind, but we are used to playing like this,” Nadal commented following his victory. “It can be beautiful to play in tough conditions. The player with more options has the better chance to survive.”
Dominic Thiem reached the last eight by defeating Croatia’s Marin Cilic 7-6(7) 6-4 as he extended his run to two consecutive wins following five previous defeats in Canada.
Second seed Thiem, who ousted home hope Denis Shapovalov on Wednesday, faced two break points in the final game against the 2014 US Open champion before securing the triumph on a third match point.
“I’m so happy with the two wins,” last weekend’s KItzvuhel winner said after his 31st victory of the season. “I beat two amazing players.
“I’ve really had a great transition from a good confidence in the European summer.”
The world number four booked a last-eight clash against eighth seed Daniil Medvedev, who eased past unseeded Christian Garin of Chile 6-3 6-3 69-minutes.
Thiem beat the Russian in April to win the Barcelona title.
“He’s having a great season, playing unbelievable, solid tennis every week. It’s going to be very, very tough match.
“Barcelona was of course in my favour because it’s clay. We had a great, close match in St. Petersburg, which was a very high level.
“I’ll try to watch that one again, see what I did great there, and try to play similar tomorrow.”
“It’s going to be a very difficult match like the last two times,” Medvedev said. “I know he’s in good shape right now. When he plays like this, he’s difficult to beat.”
Third seed Alexander Zverev took some quick revenge by beating Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-5 5-7 7-6(5) only 12 days after the German lost to the Georgian in Hamburg.
Zvereva, the 2017 Montreal winner who remains undefeated in the city, destroyed a racket in frustration and almost lost his way in the final set before recovering to advance for a meeting with Karen Khachanov who ousted Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime on the youngster’s 19th birthday, 6-7(7) 7-5 6-3 and in the process, upset the crowd who clearly showed their partisanship!
“I cannot deny I got a little bit crazy with the crowd. But I’m really a bit disappointed with the crowd as well,” the Russian said. “I don’t have anything against when they cheer for Felix. He’s a home favorite, from Montreal. But wishing me to miss, screaming during the points. I think it’s unrespectful. I just got crazy.”