In Montreal, Friday night saw an amazing Earnests Gulbis hold two match points against three-time Rogers Cup champion Novak Djokovic. But the world no.1 Serbian fought from the brink and managed to stay in the tournament. In another thriller, Frenchman Jeremy Chardy saved seven match points before beating the big-serving American John Isner in three sets, each of which had to be decided on tiebreaks. Now Chardy runs into Novak Djokovic for a place in the final. Rafael Nadal went down against Japan’s Kei Nishikori in another quarterfinal while Andy Murray defeated defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. In Toronto too, defending champion Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska was shown the door by no.2 seed Simona Halep of Romania and world no.1 Serena Williams defeated Italy’s Roberta Vinci to set up a clash with Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic, who caused an upset by beating Serbia’s no.5 seed Ana Ivanovic. In the fourth women’s quarterfinal, Italy’s Sara Errani defeated Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine.
Djokovic faced a huge scare, when he played against Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis on Friday. The inspired Gulbis won the first set 5-7 and held an upper hand in the second as he led 3-2 with a break on Djokovic’s serve. But the Serbian, who has lost just three matches in 2015 turned things around and forced the tiebreak. Gulbis was not finished yet as held two points in the tiebreak against Djokovic at 6-4. From the verge of defeat, the Serb saved both match points and clinched the second set. Frayed nerves cost Gulbis and he succumbed easily in the third set as Djokovic made it to the semifinal with a 5-7, 7-6, 6-1 victory.
Djokovic will face France’s Jeremy Chardy, who came through amazingly against USA’s John Isner. Rain had delayed the start of the Chardy/Isner match but when they got going, Isner took the 58-minute first set 7-6. Isner opened a 3-1 lead in the second set when rain stopped play. On resumption, Chardy took the next three games and forced the tiebreak. With Isner’s service finding its mark, he held five match points against Chardy in the second set tiebreak at 6-5, 7-6, 8-7, 10-9 and 12-11. But the Frenchman saved them all and won the 19-minute long tiebreak. In the third set, Isner had a bit of struggle with a left knee injury. After getting on-court medical attention, Isner save break points against him to take a 2-1 lead. Isner held two more match points at 6-5 but Chardy again saved those and forced another tiebreak with an ace. In the tiebreak, Chardy converted his first match-point to enter the semifinals after 3 hours 12 minutes on court.
Japan’s Kei Nishikori defeated Rafael Nadal for the first time in eight attempts. The Japanese broke Nadal’s service twice in the first set and twice again in the second to cruise through with a 6-2, 6-4 victory. For a place in the final, Nishikori will face no.2 seed Andy Murray, who defeated the 10th-seeded defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 6-4, 6-4.
At Toronto, world no.1 Serena Williams didn’t have any trouble in beating Italian Roberta Vinci 6-4, 6-3. Serena’s semifinal opponent will be 18-year old Belinda Bencic of Switzerland. The Swiss teenager caused an upset by defeating no.5 seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia 6-4, 6-2. Sara Errani of Italy defeated Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 6-4 to set up a semifinal clash with no.2 seed Romanian Simona Halep, who ousted defending champion and no.6 seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland after losing the first set 0-6. Halep brought the turnaround in the next two sets and finished with a 0-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory.
Top-seeded women’s doubles Swiss-Indian pair of Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza entered the semifinal with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over the Taiwanese duo of Hao-Ching Chan/ Yung-Jan Chan. For a place in the final, Hingis/Mirza will play against no.4 seeds Caroline Garcia of France and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia.