Players have been living dangerously in Montreal with the likes of Gael Monfils and Diego Schwartzman, among many others, needing to save match points en route to some heroic victories.
Monfils pulled off a near-impossible back-from-the-brink job against Kei Nishikori, saving four match points – including two with unthinkable hot shots – en route to a 6-7 (4), 7-5, 7-6 (6) triumph to reach the last 16.
The Frenchman was 0-3 against Nishikori heading into the contest, with all their previous encounters going the distance.
Against the fifth-seeded Japanese on Wednesday, Monfils broke back when Nishikori was serving for the match, then rallied from 3-6 down in the final-set tiebreak to secure a memorable victory.
Watch these two hot shots he needed to save match points…
“It’s a good victory for many reasons,” Monfils was quoted as saying by www.atpworldtour.com. “It’s a big revenge, because last year around this time I had the same thing actually against Kei. I was up 6/2 in the tiebreak in the Olympics in the quarter-finals and I lost the tie-break. So I know exactly what he feels.
“Actually last year, as well, a bit before, I played him in Miami. I also had five match points and I lost it 7-6 in the third. I’m more than happy because I fought through the toughness, because it was tough for me. It was a bit like a rollercoaster. I was a break down in each set.”
Monfils wasn’t the only one to come back from the dead on Wednesday in Canada. No4 seed Alexander “Sascha” Zverev powered through a 49-shot rally to save match point against France’s Richard Gasquet before wrapping up a 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (3) victory. He saved three match points in total to set up a mouth-watering third round with Nick Kyrgios.
Feast your eyes on this match point save from Zverev.
A day earlier, 18-year-old wildcard Denis Shapovalov saved four match points during his 4-6, 7-6(8), 6-4 win over Rogerio Dutra Silva to reach the second round (he then beat Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets on Wednesday). The powerful Canadian lefty is a skillful shot-maker. Check out how he saved those match points…
Also on Tuesday, but in the second round, Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman upset No. 3 seed Dominic Thiem by saving four match points. The world No36 completed a 4-6, 7-6 (7), 7-5 win over Thiem, who was up 5-2 in the final set but blew his lead. Schwartzman plays Jared Donaldson in the third round on Thursday. Check out the highlights from his heroic win over Thiem.
Andy Murray has pulled out of this month’s Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati citing an ongoing hip injury.
The British world No1 has been suffering from a hip problem since before Wimbledon and was forced to skip the ongoing Montreal Masters.
“Unfortunately I won’t be playing in Cincinnati as I continue my recovery,” said Murray, a two-time champion at the event. “I always enjoy playing there and I look forward to returning next year. I’m continuing to work hard on the court with the aim of being in New York (for the US Open).”
With the US Open starting in less than four weeks, Murray will be looking to get back to full fitness in time for the final Grand Slam of the season.
Murray might lose his No. 1 ranking to Rafael Nadal should the Spaniard reach the semi-finals in Montreal this week.
Nadal will be the top seed in Cincinnati and will have another chance to reclaim the No. 1 ranking if he fails to take it in Canada.
Federer will be the No. 2 seed, marking the 10th time that he has been one of the top two seeds at the tournament. A seven-time Cincinnati champion, Federer carries a 10-match winning streak into this event, having won the title in each of his last two appearances (2014-15).
This will be the first time Nadal and Federer are the top two seeds at the Western & Southern Open since 2009.
Play begins at the Western & Southern Open on Saturday, Aug 12 with qualifying matches.
Roger Federer believes Rafael Nadal would “absolutely deserve” to be world No1 again as the Spaniard stands just three wins away from returning to the top of the rankings.
Nadal would usurp Andy Murray as the new world No1 if he reaches the semi-finals in Montreal this week.
The 31-year-old has not occupied the top spot since July 2014 and after struggling with injury end of last year, he has stormed back to his best form this season, winning a 10th French Open in June, along with three more titles in the last seven months.
“It would be absolutely massive,” Federer told TennisTV of the prospect of Nadal reclaiming the No1 ranking.
“I remember when he was injured at the end of last year and here he is a few matches away from clinching world No1.
“In a way it seems very far, yet it’s very near, so he’s just got to stay focused. I hope for his sake he’s going to make it. If not, I’m happy for Andy to get another week at world No1 because the run that he showed as well last year was tremendous.
“I have unbelievable respect for Andy, that he was able to do it and get to world No1 and finish the year at world No1, that was nice to see. Now there’s probably going to be a changing of the guard at world No1 level, in the near future and I hope for Rafa he can get there again, he would absolutely deserve it after his 10th French Open win in the summer.”
Nadal opens his Montreal campaign on Wednesday against Croatian Borna Coric, who owns two victories in three meetings with the Mallorcan, while Federer faces home favourite Peter Polansky.
A battle for year-end No1 looks likely to transpire between Nadal and Federer over the next few months but the former insists it is not his main focus.
“I never thought about that and I’m still not thinking about it,” said Nadal of the top spot.
“I go day by day and I try my best in every match and then we’ll see what’s going to happen. But it’s something I’m not thinking much about. If it happens, for sure (it’s) welcome.
“It’s obvious that after all the things that happened to me with injuries, going back that spot will be special.”
Murray, who is missing Montreal with a hip injury, has struggled in 2017, claiming just one title, in Dubai, and accumulating a 25-10 win-loss record.
He said after his Wimbledon quarter-final exit to Sam Querrey that he “doesn’t deserve” to keep his top spot much longer.