Swiss star Roger Federer outclassed Roberto Bautista Agut as he inched closer to his sixth title of the season with a 6-4, 6-4 win in the quarter-finals of the Montreal Masters on Friday.
Federer hammered five aces, made just two double faults and won 81 percent of his first serve points in the 68-minute centre court match. He dominated at the net, winning 21 of 25 points.
“It pays off playing aggressively here in Montreal, plus I feel comfortable at net, so why not spend some time there instead of slugging it out from the baseline,” Federer said.
“I think I did a good job again, even though it was tough to control the ball. I got some decent rhythm going.”
Federer advances to the semi-finals where he will face Robin Haase of the Netherlands, who defeated Diego Schwartzman 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 earlier in the day.
Bautista Agut struggled on his serve as he was broken three times and won just 65 percent of his first serve points.
“Today, I felt that I didn’t get into the rhythm of the match and I didn’t feel the ball well,” he said. “Roger plays very fast and he didn’t want to rally with me, so he went for his shots.”
Federer posted his seventh consecutive win over the Spaniard and improved his season record to 34-2. He has a ATP Tour high five titles in 2017.
He will face Dutchman Haas in just the second career meeting between the two.
The pair met in a Davis Cup World Group play-off in 2012 with Federer winning 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.
Federer’s chances of winning another title this season were given a boost when top seed Rafael Nadal was upset by world No. 143 Denis Shapovalov of Canada on Thursday night.
Shapovalov, who needed a wild card to gain entry into the tournament, continued his cinderella run Friday by rallying to beat Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Mannarino became the fourth established ATP player this week to fall at the hands of the 18-year-old lefthanded Canadian.
Shapovalov’s win over Mannarino came just 24 hours after he defeated 10-time French Open champion Nadal to get into the quarters. Shapovalov also upset former US Open winner Juan Martin Del Potro in the second round.
Shapovalov started slowly by dropping the first set before settling into the match in the second. After a rain delay, Shapovalov broke Mannarino to take a 4-2 lead in the second set. Her served out the set in the ninth game.
– Shapovalov rolls on -“It’s tough to come out and serve after a 12-minute rain delay. I knew that was a very big turning point,” Shapovalov said. “When I broke him, I got that little bit of confidence, and I started believing in my shots again.”
Haase rallied after losing the opening set to improve to 5-0 all-time against Schwartzman.
Haase has had to overcome several injuries in his career but says he is finally in a good place.
“I wasn’t the player I was before my injury,” Haase said.
“I was not as fast. I was insecure. I had a lot of problems with other injuries after. Then this kind of eats you up inside mentally. It drains you because you know you can do better.
“I’ve been working on it a lot in the past few years. I started to believe more and more again. My game is better.”
Fourth seeded Alexander Zverev defeated South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in straight sets 7-5, 6-4 to set up a clash of rising stars with Shapovalov.
Zverev, 20, is the youngest player ranked in the top 20 in the world and Shapovalov became the youngest since 1990 to reach the quarter-finals of the Masters 1000 event.
Rafael Nadal kicked off his summer hard-court campaign with a bang, dismissing talented Croatian Borna Coric 6-1, 6-2 to reach the third round in Montreal.
Playing for the first time since his Wimbledon fourth round exit to Gilles Muller, Nadal was in no-nonsense form as he swiftly set up a last-16 meeting with Canadian teenage wildcard Denis Shapovalov, who upset Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets on Wednesday.
Here’s what we learned from Nadal’s Rogers Cup opener…
If there was any concern that Nadal’s fourth round exit at Wimbledon may have halted his momentum, such worries must have quickly dissipated following his 71-minute demolition of Coric – a player who owned a 2-1 head-to-head record against the Mallorcan prior to their Wednesday clash.
Coric was not an easy opener for Nadal on hard courts but the 31-year-old passed the test with flying colours.
Fitness and freshness are often tough to come by at this stage of the season but it seems Nadal is full of energy eight months into the year, and is looking to keep up his good form that has earned him four titles so far in 2017, including a 10th Roland Garros crown
Nadal hit 20 winners in his straight-sets win over Coric, including seven aces. He saved the one break point he faced during the match, and dropped just six points on his first serve and seven on his second.
Remember his dream 2010 US Open, where he slightly altered his grip and was firing serves he never thought he had en route to the title? Nadal’s serve is proving to be more and more of a weapon this season, his career-high 23 aces during his five-setter against Muller at Wimbledon a real testament to that. If he keeps it up in this upcoming stretch, Nadal has a legitimate chance of claiming a third US Open and 16th Grand Slam title.
The people standing between Nadal and a return to the top of the rankings for the first time since July 2014 are Shapovalov and either Chung Hyeon or Adrian Mannarino. Nadal must reach the semis in order to leapfrog current No. 1 Andy Murray, and is two wins away from achieving that.
Shapovalov is ranked 143 in the world and at 18, is the youngest player to reach the last-16 at a Masters 1000 tournament since Nadal did so himself in Miami in 2004. The Canadian teen saved four match points in his opener against Rogerio Dutra Silva then outplayed Del Potro in straight sets.
It will be an all-lefty battle between him and Nadal, and with the crowd behind Shapovalov, who knows what’s going to happen.
Still, with Shapovalov taking out Del Potro, and Mannarino upsetting Milos Raonic, Nadal’s draw got softer all of a sudden and the top spot is well within his reach.
Nadal faces the Canadian around 4:00am Friday UAE time.
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.