Novak Djokovic bid to return to the top of tennis hit a minor bump Thursday at the Toronto Masters. Looking like the Djokovic we saw earlier in the year, the former No. 1 was ousted by teen sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3 to reach his first career Masters quarterfinal.
The 19-year-old who posses some big groundstrokes but not a massive serve for a 6-foot-4 kid, only face two break points in the match and largely was untroubled on his serve by Djokovic.
“I feel very proud for me, myself, and my country. I’m putting Greece more deep into the map of tennis. So I’m pretty sure I’m making my family proud, all of those people that are watching, my coach, my father. It was a very emotional win,” Tsitsipas said. “I’ve never felt so many emotions after a victory.”
“I was serving well, so that break was everything,” Tsitsipas added. “It gave me the win at the end. And serving, [it was] unbelievable. [I was] returning pretty well here and there during the match. Yeah, [it is the] best win of my career.”
It was Tsitsipas’s second straight Top 10 win after beating Dominic Thiem on Wednesday.
Djokovic, who had high hopes after winning Wimbledon, took the loss in stride.
“I just played not that great, especially from the baseline. I didn’t return well. So all in all, it wasn’t that great of a match,” Djokovic said. “You have those days, and better earlier than later in this series.
“I really want to do well,” Djokovic said. “Losing in this kind of tournament, it’s not something I don’t care about. It really frustrates me. But I have to accept it, deal with it, and move on.”
“I’m going to get into Cincinnati, the only 1000 event that I didn’t win in my career, and hopefully I can have a good tournament.”
Next for Tsitsipas is a date with defending champion Alexander Zverev who blew out qualifier Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-2.
“I feel good. I feel physically pretty well. I feel like I’m playing well,” Zverev said. “I get into a rhythm of playing matches one after another, and right now I’m in that rhythm.”
Zverev, who dropped just one point on first serve, just beat the Greek last weekend in Washington.
Marin Cilic also coasted to victory over Diego Schwartzman by the same 6-3, 6-2 scoreline. Cilic now gets Rafael Nadal in a rematch of their Australian Open quarterfinal won by the Croat.
Nadal had to come from a 5-4 break down in the second to beat Stan Wawrinka 7-5, 7-6(4). The match was interrupted by a 45-minute rain delay with Wawrinka serving 5-6 in the first. And upon resumption, Rafa got the break.
In their 20th meeting, Nadal now leads the Swiss 17-3.
Home favorite Denis Shapovalov fell victim to the upset by Robin Haase. The two had made the semifinals in Canada last year, but Thursday night Haase took advantage of some poor play from the teen with a 7-5, 6-2 win.
“Robin did a good job today of really playing with my game, and he played me really smart today,” Shapovalov said. “So unfortunately I had a bit of an off day and those things happen.”
Haase will now face Karen Khachnov who pulled the 7-6, 7-6 upset over John Isner.
Grigor Dimitrov won his second set final set breaker edging American Frances Tiafoe 7-6(1), 3-6, 7-6(4).
“I was really not focusing on winning or losing. I was just [wanting] to build up and start playing good tennis and start building the right habits. And eventually, if you do all these things right, you win. And I think those days were just that for me,” Dimitrov said.
“Clearly I’m not playing my best tennis, but I’m finding a way and managing to go through those matches, and I think I’m improving. With each game, with each point that I play, I feel more confident, more stable on the court, and everything falls into its place. So hopefully that’s a great step forward for me.”
Dimitrov moves on to face Wimbledon runner-up Kevin Anderson. The South African knocked out Belarussian qualifier Ilya Ivashka. Dimitrov leads Anderson 6-1 in their head-to-head.
“He’s been playing unbelievable throughout the whole year… Given the facts and the stats right now, for sure he’s the favourite,” Dimitrov said of Anderson. “But as I said, I’m very determined to just keep on fighting and keep on building from my game. I mean, this is what I want. I want to be here.”
FRIDAY TORONTO SCHEDULE
Centre Court Starts At 12:30 Pm
5 Grigor Dimitrov v 4 Kevin Anderson
Stefanos Tsitsipas v 2 Alexander Zverev
Not Before 6:30 Pm
Robin Haase v Karen Khachanov
Not Before 8:00 Pm
1 Rafael Nadal v Marin Cilic
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