Hubert Hurkacz Halts Kyrgios in Montreal, Meets Ruud in the SFs

Hubert Hurkacz Halts Kyrgios in Montreal, Meets Ruud in the SFs
Hubert Hurkacz celebrates victory over Nick Kyrgios (not pictured) at the National Bank Open presented by Rogers. August 12, 2022. Photo Courtesy: Pascal Ratthe/Tennis Canada.

Pole Hubert Hurkacz will face fourth seed Casper Ruud, who put out home favorite Felix Auger-Aliassime on Saturday for a place in the Montreal final.

Hubert Hurkacz advances into his fourth career ATP Masters 1000 semifinal, prevailing over Australian Nick Kyrgios 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 6-1 after one hour and 46 minutes.

In his on-court interview, the Pole said: “Nick has been playing some incredible tennis throughout the past weeks, so it is a pleasure playing against him. I hope the fans enjoyed it as well, but I am happy with the result in the end.

On Friday, in their second meeting at tour level, the World No. 10 halted the Aussie’s winning streak, having won nine matches in a row, prevailing over his opponent after an intense three-setter at the National Bank Open presented by Rogers.

On Saturday, the 5-time ATP titlist will face World No. 7 Casper Ruud, who sailed past Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets.

A DUEL OF BIG SERVERS

The challenging contest set off fast, despite Kyrgios making gestures of a struggle with back pain, looking apathetic, although it did not stop him from imposing a vertiginous pace through the first two sets.

Both players relied on their big serves, keeping the score tight, leaving no room for breaks from either side of the net.

Hurkacz would nail the tiebreak in the opener after only 38 minutes, returning well and charging at the net in style.

He hit fewer winners than his rival, 13 to 22, but committed fewer unforced errors, 9 and 14, respectively.

I started really well. Nick was maybe a little bit injured, which might have hurt his serve. With both of us serving so well, that few percent can make the difference,” the Polish player added.

The Canberra native continued to charge on into the second set, but his opponent was wise on return and defense, saving three break points to level up the score 1-1.

From there, the set became a mirror of the opener, but the outcome would favor the Australian, who emerged victorious from a second tiebreak to force a decider.

Kyrgios won 86 percent of his first-service points to Hurkacz’s 83 percent in the second set.

The parity was such that while the former fired 21 winners, recording nine unforced errors, his adversary would hit 20 and 7, respectively.

The story changed into the third and final set, with the 25-year-old from Wroclaw producing a crucial double break over Kyrgios, who dropped his level significantly, setting a victory path for the Polish player with a ticket into the semifinals.

Overall, Hurkacz won 85 percent of his first-service points and saved 6/6 breakpoints he faced while winning 2/6 breakpoint opportunities.

In the Spotlight

Kyrgios set off his season by claiming his home Grand Slam, the Australian Open, doubles title partnering countryman Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Moreover, the controversial and gifted player, currently ranked World No. 37, has displayed solid performances throughout the year, reaching the final at Wimbledon, falling to Novak Djokovic in four sets.

The 27-year-old has built a campaign in which he has been able to play his best tennis with consistency. And as a result, last week, he captured his first singles ATP title since 2019 at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C.

The doubles title at the ATP 500 was the cherry on top of the pie.

In the build-up to the U.S. Open, he will compete at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati next week.

Ruud leads Hurkacz in their Head2Head series, having met before this season at the French Open when the 23-year-old advanced into his maiden Grand Slam final - lost to Rafael Nadal.

Cecilia demartini
Sports Pundit staff writer @ceci_2812
Cecilia is a writer and journalist, passionate about motorsport and tennis.Her articles are published in newspapers and international online publications.

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