World No.1 Rafael Nadal showed all his fighting spirit as he came back to beat Marin Cilic and reach the semifinals at the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
The Spaniard remains on track for a fourth Canadian title after seeing off sixth seed Cilic 2-6 6-4 6-4.
Friday’s victory sees Nadal become the first man to qualify for the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London – the 14th year in a row that he has secured a place at the season-ending finale.
Cilic had his chances to end Nadal’s Toronto run at the quarterfinal stage after making a superb, aggressive start.
Tops Cilic 2-6 6-4 6-4 for first SF on a hard court this season. pic.twitter.com/3D9WGoxKxB
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) August 11, 2018
However, he would eventually pay for a final tally of just three break points converted from 14 opportunities, while the more clinical Nadal made three of six.
“It means a lot to me to be in the semifinals,” Nadal told atpworldtour.com.
“It’s because it was a very important match for me. Being in the semifinals is great news at the start of the hard-court season. And winning three good matches in the first Masters 1000 is so important for me.”
The 32-year-old goes on to face 22-year-old Russian Karen Khachanov, who beat unseeded Dutchman Robin Haase 6-3 6-1.
Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson is one match from his first ATP Masters 1000 final after brushing aside Grigor Dimitrov 6-2 6-2.
It was only the second time Anderson had beaten Dimitrov in eight meetings.
“It was definitely a great match today,” said Anderson.
“I felt I played really well right from the beginning. I think I played some really good tennis in the last couple of matches, just not from the start.
“I felt I was in a really good frame of mind, playing the kind of tennis that I knew I wanted to be playing and needed to be playing.”
The South African next faces Stefanos Tsitsipas, the 19-year-old Greek who grabbed even more headlines on Friday with a 3-6 7-6(11) 6-4 win over defending champion Alexander Zverev.
It was Tsitsipas’ third win over a top-10 opponent this week, following defeats of Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic.
24 July 2019
Back on clay for the first time since losing the French Open final to Rafael Nadal, Domini... More
11 May 2017
When we look at Rafa Nadal on clay, there are a few key points that make him better than e... More
15 July 2019
Novak Djokovic is keenly aware of the significance of his fifth-set performance against Ro... More