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Medvedev stuns Thiem; Serena rolls past Osaka

August 10, 2019 09:14 IST

Daniil Medvedev of Russia waves to the crowd after defeating Dominic Thiem of Austria

IMAGE: Russia's Daniil Medvedev waves to the crowd after defeating Austria's Dominic Thiemin in the Rogers Cup tennis tournament on Friday. Photograph: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Daniil Medvedev and Karen Khachanov crushed second seed Dominic Thiem and third seed Alexander Zverev respectively to set up an all-Russian semi-final at the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Friday.

 

Later in the day, top seed Rafael Nadal overcame a sluggish start to defeat Fabio Fognini 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 to keep his title defence alive.

The Spaniard and will face either Gael Monfils or Roberto Bautista Agut, who will close out the action under the lights at IGA stadium.

The French-speaking Medvedev was cheered on by a partisan crowd and finished off a tired-looking Thiem 6-3, 6-1 to end the Austrian’s six-match winning streak in under an hour.

So dominant was the tall Russian that he took the first five games of the second set while winning 16 of the first 17 points. 

He missed a chance to close out the match on Thiem’s serve at 5-0 before sealing victory with an ace, his sixth of the day.

Medvedev said he was as surprised as anyone to have defeated world number four Thiem in such dominant fashion.

“I was expecting a tougher match,” he said.

“I was happy that I was able to play so well, to beat him so easily. It saved me a lot of energy. It gave me a lot of confidence so I’m very happy.”

Khachanov had little more problem with German Zverev, rattling through their quarter-final 6-3, 6-3 in 74 minutes.

Nadal initially had a more tricky time in his quarter-final against Fognini, struggling with his serving accuracy in a first set where the Italian broke him twice.

But Nadal broke to love in the second game of the second set on a double fault by Fognini, who appeared to be bothered by right ankle soreness as the nearly two-hour match wore on.

Nadal broke serve to start the deciding set and never looked back as he took a measure of revenge against Fognini, who defeated Nadal in the final of the Monte Carlo Masters in April.

The Spaniard said the key to getting back into the match had been staying in the moment.

Serena rolls past Osaka in Toronto, Halep retires

 Naomi Osaka, left, congratulates Serena Williams on her victory.

IMAGE: Naomi Osaka, left, congratulates Serena Williams on her victory. Photograph: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Serena Williams moved into the Rogers Cup semi-finals on Friday with a maiden career victory over Naomi Osaka in their first meeting since the American’s infamous row with an umpire overshadowed last year’s US Open final.

The 6-3, 6-4 loss continued a run of poor form for Osaka but there was some good news later in the day when Karolina Pliskova lost to ensure the US and Australian Open champion would replace Ash Barty as world number one next week.

Williams will next face qualifier Marie Bouzkova, who advanced when Wimbledon champion and holder Simona Halep retired from their match with a left Achilles problem after dropping the first set 6-4.

There was no doubt about what was the big match of the day at the third oldest tournament in tennis.

Unlike at Flushing Meadows last year, where Osaka won her first Grand Slam title, there were no fiery exchanges with the umpire, no smashed rackets, no point or game penalties — just a rock-solid performance from Williams.

The 37-year-old is looking to shore up her hardcourt game for the Aug. 26-Sept.8 US Open where she will chase a record-tying 24th career Grand Slam title.

Williams had slow starts in her previous two outings this week but came out much stronger for this one and delivered a serving masterclass that denied Osaka any break point opportunities.

“We haven’t played since New York which was a really good match for her and I just wanted to come out and try to win a set this time because she’s beaten me twice so I just wanted to do the best I could today,” Williams said in an on-court interview.

There was a scary moment in the second set when the American ran into the net post while trying to chase down an Osaka drop shot but, despite nursing her right arm, Williams confirmed that no serious damage had been done.

“Tennis players don’t really get too dirty and ugly on the court. So that was one of a few moments where those kind of injuries can happen or whatever,” said Williams. “But it was fine. It hurt, but it wasn’t the end of the world.”

Czech 21-year-old Bouzkova’s breakout run in Toronto will carry into the weekend after Halep, who had been complaining about her Achilles all week, retired from their match.

“Achilles problems. I felt since the first match here. And today I felt it more, so that’s why I decided to retire,” said Halep. “Tomorrow it would have been Serena and is not easy.”

In earlier quarter-final action, Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu played through leg pain to keep her dream run alive with a 6-0, 2-6, 6-4 upset of Czech Pliskova.

Andreescu looked to be in trouble when she gingerly returned to the court from a medical timeout late in the second set with her right thigh heavily taped and her movement hampered.

But the 19-year-old, who shot to prominence with her Indian Wells triumph in March, went toe-to-toe with her more experienced opponent to win by serving out to love.

“When I step out on the court, I’m fearless. I show no mercy no matter who I play, and I think that’s showing a lot,” said Andreescu.

Up next for Andreescu will be unseeded American Sofia Kenin, who extended her impressive Toronto run with a 7-6(2), 6-4 win over Ukrainian former champion Elina Svitolina.

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