Hurkacz tops Kyrgios in opening quarterfinal at National Bank Open

Hubert Hurkacz joins Arash Madani to discuss his quarterfinal win over Nick Kyrgios, the importance of keeping his serve, and if his ATP pedigree gives him an advantage over the remaining participants.

MONTREAL — Hubert Hurkacz defeated Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (4), 6-7 (5), 6-1 on Friday afternoon to reach the semifinals at the National Bank Open.

The eighth seed from Poland took advantage of two double-faults by Kyrgios early in the third set for the first service break of the match. Hurkacz went on to complete the victory in one hour 46 minutes.

“Nick is a super opponent, he can make every single shot,” Hurkacz said. “He doesn’t really have that many weaknesses, if any. I was just trying to serve (well) and stay aggressive.”

Sixth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal and No. 4 Casper Ruud of Norway were scheduled to play later in the afternoon at IGA Stadium.

There was no wasted energy from Kyrgios, who played like he had a cab waiting outside. 

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He’d usually bounce the ball once and go right into his service motion. The pace of play agreed with Hurkacz, a six-foot-five right-hander who matched the Australian’s power game.

Both players had break opportunities but tiebreakers were needed to settle the first two sets. 

Kyrgios, who dispatched defending champion and world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev in the second round, slowed in the third set and his serve lost some of its zip. 

“I’m not a machine, I’m a human,” Kyrgios said. “My knees were sore, my back was sore, my abdominal was sore. I was trying to stay moving, but I just stiffened up.”

The loss ended his nine-match winning streak. Kyrgios entered play with wins in 15 of his last 16 matches, with the only defeat coming to Novak Djokovic in last month’s Wimbledon final.

Kyrgios is projected to rise 10 spots to No. 27 when the world rankings are updated next week. Hurkacz is ranked 10th in the world.

Auger-Aliassime, meanwhile, had a first-round bye and entered the quarterfinal without dropping a set this week. He has split his two previous meetings at the ATP Tour level with Ruud. 

Auger-Aliassime is the first Canadian to make the quarterfinals at this tournament since Denis Shapovalov reached the semifinals in 2017.

In the evening matches, American Tommy Paul was to play Britain’s Daniel Evans and Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta was to meet British qualifier Jack Draper. 

The semifinals are set for Saturday and the final of the US$6.57-million Masters 1000 tournament goes Sunday.

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