Photo: Rafael Nadal
Spain’s Rafael Nadal advanced to the semifinals of the Rogers Cup in Montreal with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Australia’s Marinko Matosevic.
The world No. 4 won the first set of Friday night’s match on the strength of two service breaks, but he encountered tougher opposition from his 28-year-old opponent at the start of the second set.
The 27-year-old Spaniard, however, notched a third service break in the fifth game of the second set and then held serve the rest of the way to wrap up the contest in one hour and 19 minutes.
Nadal did not drop serve throughout the match, staving off the only two break points he faced.
“I think I played well,” Nadal said afterward. “I played a positive match. To win 6-2, 6-4 against a tough opponent, it is impossible to play bad. I am happy the way I played. To start the hard court season like this with semifinals is a great start.”
Next up in Saturday’s semifinals will be Serbian world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who routed Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-1, 6-2 in less than an hour Friday evening.
Although Djokovic has an 11-5 advantage in their hard-court matches, Nadal said he was looking forward to Saturday night’s showdown.
“It is something I accept. It is not a problem for me. I am happy the way that I am playing this week. I am gonna fight for the match tomorrow,” the Spaniard said.
“I am excited to play against a very tough opponent, one of the best, the best today. I need to play my best tomorrow if I want to have any chance.”
Saturday’s first semifinal will be an all-Canadian battle pitting Milos Raonic against Vasek Pospisil.
The Rogers Cup is one of the biggest hard-court events on the ATP calendar and a key tune-up for the U.S. Open, which gets underway later this month.