Two fan favourites, two halves of the draw, two very different stories. Roger Federer was businesslike as he eased into the semifinals of the Rogers Cup, while Denis Shapovalov was once again forced to dig very deep as the 18 year-old wildcard gritted out a famous win in Montreal.
Denis Shapovalov’s dream run at the Rogers Cup continues, the 18 year-old Canadian coming from a set down to beat Adrian Mannarino in another epic three-set battle. Shapovalov, who ousted top seed Rafael Nadal just 24 hours earlier, seemed in danger of being overwhelmed at the start of his quarterfinal with Adrian Mannarino racing away to take the opening set 6-2.
But the Canadian teenager, who has repeatedly shown that he has the heart for the battle, dug in and secured an early break to take the advantage in the second. Mannarino attempted to find a way back into it, but Shapovalov held strong to force the decider.
In yet another display of resilience, a single break was enough to give the wildcard the decisive advantage. In front of an adoring home crowd, Shapovalov secured a famous 2-6 6-3 6-4 win in two hours 25 minutes.
“I started off pretty slow,” Shapovalov said after the match. “Rafa took a lot of energy out of me. Without a crowd like this, it’s hard to turn around a match.”
In the day’s final last eight match, Alexander Zverev once again got the better of Kevin Anderson. The pair, playing for the second time in less than a week (Zverev defeated Anderson in the Washington final on Sunday) contested a tight match, with Zverev securing a 7-5 6-4 win in one hour 31 minutes. The German fourth seed is now two wins away from securing his second Masters 1000 title of the season.
Roger Federer remains on course for his fourth Rogers Cup title – and first in Montreal – after a comprehensive 6-4 6-4 win over Roberto Bautista Agut. The swiss star, who is the highest seed left in the draw, needed just 68 minutes to down the Spanish twelfth seed.
With Nadal’s defeat the night before still topic of much discussion, Federer now has a realistic chance of reaching world No.1 before the US Open in two weeks time. To do so, he needs to win in Montreal and go deeper than Nadal in Cincinnati (a tournament he has won seven times).
If today’s performance is anything to go by, he has a very good chance of doing just that.
Up against an in-form opponent in Bautista Agut, Federer was in businesslike mood as he broke in the ninth game of the set to seize the advantage. The second was a similar affair with the pair exchanging breaks at the start of the set, before Federer took control in game three and never looked back.
“Now that Rafa is out I know I can make big strides, especially if I was to go further than the semis here,” Federer said of the race for world No.1. “But it’s all connected to great play.”
In a tournament beset with surprise results, Federer will face Dutchman Robin Haase in the semifinals. Haase, the world No.52, overcame the belligerent opposition of Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman to seal a 4-6 6-3 6-3 win. It will be his first ATP Masters 1000 semifinal.
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