SF Preview: Tsitsipas Battles Anderson, Nadal Faces Khachanov
A huge opportunity awaits the final four in Toronto, with three of the remaining competitors bidding to reach their first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final.
Top seed Rafael Nadal continues his quest for an unprecedented 33rd title at the elite level following a gripping comeback victory over Marin Cilic on Friday. He faces Masters 1000 semi-final debutant Karen Khachanov. Also on tap is an intriguing clash between Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson and surging #NextGenATP star Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Greek teen is playing the best tennis of his young career and will square off against an equally in form World No. 6.
Anderson and Tsitsipas will kick off the semi-final slate with a day session clash. The 19-year-old leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series by a slim count of 1-0, having rallied from a set down on the clay of Estoril earlier this year. Tsitsipas has been one of the hottest players on the ATP World Tour during the summer hard-court season, and he will look to continue his winning ways on Saturday.
A semi-finalist last week in Washington, he hopes to go one step further and not only reach his biggest final to date, but become the youngest to beat four Top 10 opponents at a single tournament, since the ATP World Tour was established in 1990. The Athens native has posted a 7-1 mark between the Citi Open and Rogers Cup, including signature wins over Novak Djokovic, David Goffin, Dominic Thiem and most recently Alexander Zverev on Friday.
Anderson, meanwhile, is also hoping to secure his spot in a first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 championship match. The fourth seed will look to his explosive game to neutralise Tsitsipas' agility and all-court brand of tennis. Runner-up at Wimbledon, Anderson has picked up where he left off, punctuated by a dominant 6-2, 6-2 win over World No. 5 Grigor Dimitrov on Friday. This is his second Masters 1000 semi-final appearance, having reached the last four in Madrid earlier this year.
In Saturday's night session, Nadal continues his bid for a fourth Rogers Cup crown and second in Toronto. Also the champion exactly one decade ago in 2008, he will look to move one step closer when he faces Khachanov for the first time. Nadal will be bolstered by his comeback victory against Marin Cilic on Friday, rallying from the edge of defeat to prevail in three tight sets. He is seeking to reach his first hard-court final since Shanghai of last year (l. to Federer).
Opposite Nadal will be Russia's 22-year-old star Khachanov, who is in search of a third ATP World Tour title match and first at the Masters 1000 level. Guaranteed to rise to a career-high of at least No. 26 in the ATP Rankings, Khachanov is dominating at the Aviva Centre. No sets lost in four matches, including wins over seeds Pablo Carreno Busta and John Isner, has the Moscow native surging at the right time.