Andrey Rublev said going into his Canadian Open Masters encounter with American big man John Isner it was 50/50. He was right. Rublev was mostly untouched on his serve but at 5-6, he let down and Isner grabbed an opening set.
After a prompt racquet smash in anger, Rublev settled down but ahead in the second tiebreaker 4-2, Isner found the mark to take the match in straight sets 7-5, 7-6(5).
Isner, who has now won eight straight matches, wins just his third over a Top 10 player in the last three years, with two of them now against Rublev.
“I think I have taken care of myself very well. I rarely take a day completely off, and that’s even if it’s a travel day after playing lots and lots of tennis,” Isner said. “I’m not afraid to take time off the tennis court, but I’ve got to keep my body moving other ways, whether that’s on a stationary bike… or go to the gym and lift weights with my trainer.
“At 36, I really do feel every bit as good as I did eight, ten years ago.”
Much to the Russian’s frustration, Isner dug out a 0-40 second set service hole by hitting 3 of his 20 aces in succession.
“He was a little bit off kilter from the very get-go, I think. I could tell he was exhibiting some frustration out there,” Isner said.
“When I knew that he was a bit rattled early on, I just told myself I had to be the one to keep a cooler head. I think that helped me prevail in the end.”
Isner will now take on Gael Monfils in the quarterfinals today. Monfils eased past Frances Tiafoe in straight sets.
Top seed Daniil Medvedev breezed into the quarters rolling past James Duckworth 6-2, 6-4. Next will be Hubert Hurkacz.
Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrated his birthday in style with a quick win over Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-2. Tsitsipas, who has won 44 matches this year, said after a tough July, he’s back in form. But will now test the streaking Casper Rudd who has won his last 13 matches.
“Casper is a player that has been developing very good recently. He had an amazing clay court season,” Tsitsipas said. “He’s someone that serves very well, has a very good serve-and-first-ball pattern that works really well for him. I think he’s probably one of the best players out there to have the serve and first ball inside the three first shots that he hits.
“It’s definitely something that I’m going to have to pay attention to, and apply more pressure towards that.”
Roberto Bautista Agut saved multiple match points in a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 win over Diego Schwartzman. American Reilly Opelka, a winner over Lloyd Harris in a final set breaker, will be next.
FRIDAY TORONTO MASTERS SCHEDULE
Stadium Starts At 12:00 Noon
6 Casper Ruud v 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas
10 Roberto Bautista Agut v Reilly Opelka
Not Before 7:00 Pm
1 Daniil Medvedev v 7 Hubert Hurkacz
John Isner v 11 Gael Monfils
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