Thursday saw some intriguing mouthwatering quarterfinal clashes at the Rogers Cup.
Kei Nishikori took on Grigor Dimitrov. Dimitrov, who after a miserable 2016, was gaining some of his confidence back. After Nishikori wrapped up the first set 6-3, with solid steady tennis, Dimitrov after a long changeover, began to claw his way back. He played more aggressive, and elevated his game a notch. NIshikori, known for his steadiness, became error-prone, and lost some focus. He made 12 unforced errors off his forehand side, while Dimitrov was finding the lines with his backhand. He started going after the balls, and played more aggressive, showing his true potential. He continued in the third set, having 2 break point chances to go up 2-0 in the third set. However, Nishikori has one of the best records on tour in deciding sets, winning 78% of his third set battles. His aggressive backhand, and first strike tennis proved to be too much for the Bulgarian, who showed get some confidence after winning 3 matches this week
Anderson, was simply taken to the woodshed by Stan the man, who outplayed the South African in every department. Stan becomes very dangerous when he gets to latter stages of events in grand slams and masters 1000. His breathtaking one-handed backhand was a thing of beauty. He was able to Neutralize Anderson’s serve, and got the upper hand from the baseline. He won easily 6-1 6-3.
Djokovic played Berdych, a match-up he was 24-2 in. Berdych, a player who often falls short against the Big 4, was playing solid tennis in the fourth set. With Djokovic not having his best serving day, Berdych broke the Serb back to push the first set to a tiebreak. Djokovic, so close to loosing the set, came up with the goods when he had too, and was ruthless on the Berdych second serve. In the second set, one break was all he needed, as he advanced without playing some of his very best tennis. He will have to serve better tomorrow
The last Quarterfinal was Monfils vs, Raonic, a tricky match-up for the Canadian, fresh off of a Wimbledon Final. He had beaten the Frenchman twice earlier this year at Indian Wells, and the Australian Open. However, as weird as it may sound, Monfils has played extremely consistent this year, and just won his first ATP 500, last week. He was playing solid, non-showman focused tennis, and he was on a role. Playing two incredible games to break the Canadian, Monfils court-coverage, and his ability to find angles in his body, and convert from defense to offense, was just too much for the Canadian. In a solid 6-4 6-4 win, Gael proved that when he plays with this focus, point-for point, he can be known for his game as well, and not for his comedy and entertainment. Lets hope he can deliver two more times this week.
Here are some highlights :
Predictions for Semifinals
Stan Wawrinka vs. Kei Nishikori – Wawrinka in straight sets
Novak Djokovic vs. Gael Monfils – Djokovic in three sets