Medvedev And Khachanov Set Up All-Russian Semifinal At Rogers Cup

MONTREAL, August 10, 2019 (by Michael Dickens)

With only 30-somethings remaining on the top half of the Rogers Cup draw, anchored by top seed Rafael Nadal and including Rolex Monte-Carlo masters champion Fabio Fognini, and the 25-and-unders on the lower half – second and third seeds Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev, for instance – Friday’s quarterfinal round of the Masters 1000 tournament in Montreal took on the look of generational differences.

As the day unfolded, Daniil Medvedev swept past second seed Dominic Thiem, 6-3, 6-1, for a place in his second ATP Masters 1000 semifinal of the season. The eighth-seeded Russian, who improved his season-long record to 30-15, has been on a roll this summer, first breaking into the ATP Top 10 on July 15. The loss ended a six-match winning streak for Thiem that went back to his run of form in winning the Generali Open in Kitzbühel last weekend.

“Of course, I was expecting a tougher match,” said Medvedev, who fired six aces and won 22 of 23 first-service points against Thiem, whose win-loss record is now 31-12. “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 ensures an all-Russian semifinal

Next, Karen Khachanov ensured an all-Russian semifinal when he beat the 2018 Nitto ATP Final champion  Zverev, 6-3, 6-3, to reach the final four. Both Medvedev and Khachanov were 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifiers and they’ve split two previous meetings.

Khachanov has reached his third Masters 1000 semifinal after his first came a year ago at the Rogers Cup in Toronto. After starting in 29th place in the ATP Race to London standings, Khachanov will climb inside the Top 20.

In his news conference after his victory, as quoted by the ATP Tour website, Khachanov admitted that it’s never easy to play against a friend from the same country, such as what will happen on Saturday when he faces Medvedev in the first semifinal (not before 3 p.m. Eastern Time).

“We grew up together. We played all the tournaments since 12 or 14,” Khachanov said. “We know each other pretty well. From one side it’s difficult, but from the other side both of us, we know what to expect, how we are playing completely different styles. (It should) be an interesting match.”

Nadal rallies past Fognini

Four-time ATP Masters 1000 Canada champion Nadal rallied for a 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 win over Fabio Fognini in the third quarterfinal match of the day and first of the night session. The World No. 2 overcame early miscues and battled back to advance.

“I lost (the first set) 6-2 with the feeling I was not playing bad, no negative feelings on the ball, just things (were) going too fast,” Nadal said, quoted by the ATP Tour website. “Honestly, the beginning of the match (was) difficult because I (was) playing probably a little bit better than him, but then the score was against me. I felt that I had a big chance to be 3-Love for me. then it was 3-1 for him.”

The top seed Nadal came in with an 11-4 lifetime head-to-head record against the No. 7 seed Fognini. For awhile, it appeared that Fognini was going to repeat his Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters success. However, Nadal turned his fortunes around in the second and third sets by cutting down his mistakes and advanced to play either Gaël Monfils or Roberto Bautista Agut, whose quarterfinal match was suspended by rain two points into the start of the fourth quarterfinal.