MONTREAL: Hubert Hurkacz overcame 53 winners from Nick Kyrgios to halt the Australian's nine-match win streak with a three-set quarter-final victory on Friday at the ATP Montreal Masters.
The Polish eighth seed managed 43 winners of his own in a rapid-fire 7-6(7/4), 6-7(5/7), 6-1 triumph that put him into his fourth semi-final at the Masters level.
Hurkacz will next face Norway's fourth-seeded Casper Ruud, who crushed home hope Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-1, 6-2, in 74 minutes.
Ruud will play his third Masters semi-final this season on Saturday, having defeated Hurkacz in their previous meeting in May at Roland Garros.
At the bottom of the draw, Dan Evans completed a comeback to defeat American Tommy Paul 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, needing two match points to overcome Paul in two and a quarter hours.
But the chance of an all-British semi-final at this elite level fell away as Jack Draper lost 7-6 (7/4), 6-1 to Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta after saving a pair of match points.
The 39th-ranked Evans, who managed only 15 winners, was decisively out-hit by Paul with 40.
Not surprisingly he said reaching his second career semi-final in Masters tournament was a hard slog.
“I had to try and hang in, get a few scraps off of him,“ he said. “If he made errors, take advantage, he was too good in the first set.
“You start to wonder if you can get into the match, so when I got the chance I took it to him. I was fired up - we had a good battle.”
For Hurkacz, it was a second win in as many matches against Kyrgios, the first played on grass in June at Halle, Germany.
Kyrgios, known for quick play, had several service games go by in less than one minute, with the Wimbledon finalist barely pausing between the end of one point and the start of the next.
Running on fumes
Wimbledon runner-up Kyrgios, who won his first title in three years last week in Washington, was bothered at times by his foot, lower back and hip as he lost momentum in the third set.
“I was just running on fumes a bit towards the end,“ the 27-year-old Aussie said. “That’s normal. “But I feel good, feel confident. I’ve got three or four days of rest until Cincinnati. I’m going to use that, really capitalize and just rest and recover.”
The pair combined for 39 aces, with Hurkacz striking 20 of them.
“Over the last two months, Nick has been playing incredibly,“ Hurkacz said.
“Today was a really tough match. Battling against him, it’s very challenging, but it’s also fun.
“Nick is a super opponent. He can make every single shot. He doesn’t really have that many weaknesses, if any. I was just trying to serve good and stay aggressive.”
Hurkacz, a 2021 quarter-finalist in Canada, won his 31st match of the season.
Ruud, who struck only nine unforced errors, was pleasantly surprised at his domination of Montreal's Auger-Aliassime.
“It was one of those days where everything was in my favor,“ he said. “I had a troubling start when I was broken to zero.
“But I turned it around. I made him play a lot of shots. Maybe playing at home was a factor for him.
“I was lucky to be able to win and keep the crowd from not cheering too much.” - AFP