Rafael Nadal has continued his seemingly inevitable march toward world No.1 with a demolition of Borna Coric in the second round of the Coupe Rogers in Montreal.
Nadal, the top seed at the ATP Masters event, brushed aside the Croatian young in just 71 minutes, winning 6-1 6-2 to reach the last 16.
There, he will meet an even younger opponent in Canadian wildcard Denis Shapovalov, the 18-year-old who stunned Juan Martin del Potro 6-3 7-6(4) earlier on Wednesday.
“He (del Potro) is my idol. First of all, just to play against him, it’s a huge honour for me. But to beat a player of this category, of this talent, it’s very inspiring and a huge confidence boost,” said Shapovalov, who becomes the younger player into the third round of an ATP Masters event since Nadal in Miami 2004.
“It’s got to be one of my best wins. Has to be.”
Nadal needs to reach the semifinals in Montreal to return to world No.1, a position he last occupied more than three years ago.
If his form against Coric was anything to go by, it’s hard to see anyone preventing him from returning to the summit.
The 20-year-old had, somewhat extraordinarily, won two of his three previous meetings with Nadal.
But he was completely at sea on Thursday, spraying the ball and unable to hang with Nadal in either short or long rallies; Nadal held a significant winning advantage in points lasting less than four shots, and those more than nine.
The Spaniard, meanwhile, was a picture of relentless aggression and focus. He sailed to a 6-1 4-1 lead and was only really forced to work really hard in the sixth game of the second set, which lasted eight minutes and included a break point for Coric.
Yet Nadal saved it, held serve and skipped away to victory two games later.
Earlier on Wednesday, Roger Federer accounted for a hapless Peter Polansky to breeze into the last 16.
Federer needed just 53 minutes to swat aside the Canadian wildcard 6-2 6-1, and he’ll next face fellow veteran and former world No.3 David Ferrer, who overcame Jack Sock in three sets.
“I have to adjust my game a little bit just because the bounce of the ball is so much higher here than at Wimbledon, and there’s wind, which in Wimbledon we didn’t have much of,” he said.
Federer, who turned 36 this week, is playing in Montreal for the first time since 2011.
Should he get past Ferrer, he could face a quarterfinal battle against Frenchman Gael Monfils, who upset fifth seed Kei Nishikori in a thrilling third-set tiebreak.
Trailing 6-2 in that tiebreak, Monfils reeled off six straight points to ignite the Court Central crowd after completing a magnificent comeback.
Monfils Gonna Monfils ????
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) August 9, 2017
He’ll next face Roberto Bautista Agut, after the 12th seed subdued Ryan Harrison in straight sets.
Elsewhere, Alexander Zverev set up a mouthwatering third-round clash with Nick Kyrgios after holding off Richard Gasquet.
In a two-and-a-half hour battle, Zverev held three match points at 5-4, 40-0 in the third set, only to get broken by the Frenchman, who then held three match points of his own when Zverev was serving to stay in the match at 5-6.
Yet the young German, a winner in Washington DC last week, saved them – one after a draining 49-shot rally – and forced the set to a tiebreak, which he won 7-3.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) August 10, 2017
Kyrgios earlier brushed aside Paolo Lorenzi 6-2 6-3.
Other winners on Wednesday were Kevin Anderson, Robin Haase and seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov, who outlasted Zverev’s older brother Mischa 6-3 3-6 6-3.
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