Montreal | Nadal remains the man to beat
In what was an interesting rematch, Rafa Nadal avenged his Monte Carlo semi-final defeat at the hands of Fabio Fognini at the start of the European clay court season.
I lost the first set feeling that I was not playing badly. Things were just going too fast Rafa Nadal
For a brief moment the Italian looked to be on his way to repeating that success when he took the first set off the top seeded Spaniard during their quarter-final meeting at the Rogers Cup Masters in Montreal.
Eventually it was Nadal, after dropping his first set of the week, prevailed after two hours, 2-6 6-1 6-2
“It was an up-and-down match, but a positive match for me because I played better and better as it went on,” Nadal said post-match.
“I lost the first set feeling that I was not playing badly. Things were just going too fast.
“Things happen quickly here because the court is fast. Sometimes in the first set, the player who is taking advantage has the adrenaline very high.
“It’s difficult to quickly stop that momentum.”
Two of the players who were expected to contest the final against Nadal though, fell by the wayside.
Third seed Alexander Zverev, was unable to make an impression on the Russian sixth seed Karen Khachanov, losing 6-3 6-3 in 74 minutes.
For Zverev the loss was a major disappointment for he hadn’t been beaten when the Canadian Open is played in Montreal – the tournament is played every other year there alternating with Toronto – after winning the 2017 edition in his maiden visit to the city and was on a 7-0 winning streak.
Also in the bottom half, the second seed, Austrian Dominic Thiem succumbed t the effects of winning Kitzbuhel at the weekend and then travelling to compete in Canada, where he successfully pulled through to make the quarter-finals.
Unfortunately he couldn’t lift himself for his match with Russia’s Daniil Medvedev , seeded eight, crashing out 6-3, 6-1 after 56-minutes to go through meet country man Khachanov for a place in the final. The two have met twice and are level as regards their head-to-head is concerned.
“It’s never easy to play a good friend, especially from the same country,” Khachanov said. “Daniil is having a great season. The match will be difficult.
“He’s a dangerous opponent. He has been destroying everyone this week. It should be a great match.”
Reflecting on his loss Thiem said: “With all the traveling and short transition, two very tough matches yesterday and two days ago, I think the battery was empty today. I was not on my 100 percent,” he said.
“This is just not enough in the quarter-finals of a Masters 1000, especially against a guy like Daniil, who is in a great shape, who is playing amazing tennis.”
Meanwhile Medvedev admitted he was expecting a tougher contest.
“I was happy that I was able to play so well, to beat him so easily,” Medvedev said. “It saved me a lot of energy. It gave me a lot of confidence, so I’m very happy.”
Meanwhile Nadal still awaits news of his next opponent as their quarter-final match was suspended because of rain. Both Gael Monfils and Roberto Bautista Agut will have to fight it out on Saturday and then return a few hours later to take on the title favourite.