After a turbulent four days in Canada things settled down for the Friday quarterfinals. In Montreal, there were no real big surprises.
Novak Djokovic continued his winning ways steamrolling Gael Monfils 6-2, 6-1. The Serb, who’s playing his first week as a No. 1, is showing now signs of slowing down and no lack of motivation/interest.
“I have played the best match of the tournament, no doubt. Everything was going well,” said Djokovic after his 51st win of the year. “I had a difficult game on two-all to hold my serve. After that, when I made the first break, it was incredible. 9, 10 games in a row. I’m happy to see my game is progressing each day.”
Next for Novak is another Frenchman, Roger Federer’s conqueror JW Tsonga. Tsonga followed his Federer upset with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Nicolas Almagro.
Tsonga actually leads Djokovic 5-3 but Novak prevailed in the only 2011 meeting in the Wimbledon semifinals last month.
“The last match was very close, very intense, very important for both of us,” Djokovic said. “He’s been playing better in last couple of months. I think he increased his level. He’s and all around player. He can play pretty well on all surfaces. He has a big serve. If he serves well, he can beat anybody. He showed that in previous couple of tournaments.
“So it’s going to be tough one. It’s a fast surface. I need to return well and hope that I can get some chances.”
And Tsonga seems to be running low on fuel.
“I was a bit tired today,” Tsonga said Friday. “I lacked energy. The match yesterday took a lot of stamina, and today my energy level was low. Therefore, I decided to focus on only a number of return games and try to focus on holding my serve. It was a way for me to save the energy I had left, not playing hard every game.”
If Tsonga is weary in any way, Djokovic will punish him. But if the Frenchman is fit he should give Djokovic a run for his money. The quick courts will help Tsonga but I don’t think he call off another upset.
In the early semifinal, the red-hot Mardy Fish will up against Janko Tipsarevic. After splitting the first two sets Fish bageled a listless Stan Wawrinka in the third set. Tipsarevic pulled a minor surprise upsetting Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-4.
Fish has won three straight over Janko to lead 3-1 and today the American is the clear favorite.
“Mardy is an intelligent player,” Tipsarevic said. “He’s an example of an all-around player that can defend, stay back, be passive, but then on the other hand go to the net, play serve and volley and completely mix up the game.”
This one could go either way but I stick with Fish. Mardy’s played to well, to consistently to let down here.
In Toronto, in arguably the biggest match of the day Serena Williams continues her comeback against World No. 4 Victoria Azarenka. The Belarussian has been a wrecking machine all week losing just six games in three matches. But now it’s Serena who has won four of five against Azarenka. Big difference.
“Since she has been back, she (Serena) has been showing some excellent tennis,” Azarenka said. “I saw her play in Stanford. She played great. It doesn’t matter if she didn’t play for a year, she’s done it before. She knows how to play tennis.”
Serena has been struggling a little needing three sets in her last two matches. And with Azarenka in form it should be an interesting test, especially for Azarenka who really needs a big win like this to cement her name as a top player.
Despite Azarenka’s gaudy numbers, I think you have to pick Serena here.
The early semifinal will has Samantha Stosur going up against Agnieszka Radwanska.
ESPN2 will have live TV coverage of the Fish match at 3pm followed by tape of the Radwanska semifinal. Tonight at 8pm they are back on with split coverage of Novak and Serena’s matches.
MONTREAL SATURDAY SCHEDULE
CENTRAL start 1:00 pm
 B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs T Berdych (CZE) / F Mayer (GER)
Not Before 3:00 PM
 M Fish (USA) vs J Tipsarevic (SRB)
Not Before 6:00 PM
 M Llodra (FRA) / N Zimonjic (SRB) vs  M Mirnyi (BLR) / D Nestor (CAN)
Not Before 8:00 PM
 N Djokovic (SRB) vs  J Tsonga (FRA)
TORONTO SATURDAY SCHEDULE
Centre Court (from 11.00hrs)
1. Rogers Legends Cup: Chang vs. McEnroe
2. Samantha Stosur vs. Agnieszka Radwanska (NB 13.00hrs)
3. Huber/Raymond vs. Dulko/Pennetta
4. Victoria Azarenka vs. Serena Williams (NB 18.30hrs)
5. Rogers Legends Cup: Agassi vs. Courier
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