Medvedev outlasts Hurkacz to reach ATP Toronto semis

Russian world number two stages fightback to ensure 2-6, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/5) victory over Polish opponent


AFP August 14, 2021

TORONTO:

Daniil Medvedev had to work his way through a pair of tiebreakers to ensure a 2-6, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/5) victory over Hubert Hurkacz and into the semi-finals of the ATP Toronto Masters on Friday.

The Russian world number two was caught on the back foot in the opening set, which he lost to his Polish opponent after committing nearly half of his 40 unforced errors on the night.

But the top seed gathered his resources to stage a fightback in two and a quarter hours on the way to revenge for a five-set loss he took at Wimbledon against the number 13.

Medvedev ended the evening with his 22nd ace on match point.

"It was a super-tough match, he was on top of me for many moments," the winner said. "He was playing amazing and I'm happy to get through."

The 2019 finalist here said he picked up his game in the deciding set.

"I started playing a little bit better and tried to keep the pressure on him - he was certainly keeping it on me."

Stefanos Tsitsipas ended the 13-match win streak of Casper Ruud with a clinical 6-1, 6-4 win.

A day after turning 23, the Greek world number three celebrated the birthday of his mother Julia, using the big day as inspiration on court.

"I'm proud of myself," the 2018 Canada finalist said. "I had it in my mind to try and make her proud today."

Tsitsipas will play against Reilly Opelka, who sent down 18 aces in a 6-3, 7-6 (7/1) defeat of Spanish 10th seed Roberto Bautista Agut.

"It means a lot to get another semi (after Rome last May)," number 32 Opelka said. "I had a slow start to the year, and being seeded at the slams is a big priority of mine.

"I've had four big wins back to back, all against tough guys. I think I'm playing at a high level right now.

"Stefanos is a great player, the match will be a good test against one of the best in the world. If you're playing Stefanos, it means you're having a good week."

Norway's 12th-ranked Ruud has been on fire the past month, winning three European clay titles last month after going out in the Wimbledon first round six weeks ago.

Ruud, son of former ATP pro Christian Ruud, had defeated Tsitsipas on Madrid clay in May.

But the Greek seed had all the answers in Toronto as he denied Ruud a 100th career match win.

"My intentions were clear from the beginning," the winner said. "My instinct was to stick to the baseline.

"I'm super happy to be standing where I am right now. Sometimes I surprise myself with how well I can play."

Tsitsipas finished with 20 winners and 11 unforced errors in his 74-minute victory.

Ruud missed on an overhead at 4-all in the second set, giving Tsitsipas two break chances.

The third seed converted on the second and served out victory moments later, increasing his wins this season to a tour-leading 45.

Gael Monfils lived up to his showman's reputation in a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 loss to John Isner as the pair met for a 13th time.

The Frenchman seeded 11th went through some turbulence in the second set when he was advised by chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani to stop "dancing" around while awaiting his opponent's huge serve.

That set Monfils off, with the 34-year-old calling for the tournament supervisor and engaging in a lively debate on the non-issue while getting his right ankle taped after what he said was a "bad step”.

The storm quickly blew over as Isner laid down a 13th ace for a match point, which he converted for victory.

"We bring out the good in each other's games," Isner said. "He's a great rival - not in a nasty way - and we are very good friends."

The American posted his ninth consecutive win this season after claiming the Atlanta title last month. He lost to semi-final opponent Medvedev in the ATP Cup last year in Australia.

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