Five Things We Learned from Day 4 of the Rogers Cup

Following his third round loss to Russian Karen Khachanov at the Rogers Cup, Canadian Felix-Auger Aliassime talks to Sportsnet reporter Arash Madani about his time playing at his home town tournament.

Thursday saw several of the biggest names in tennis, including Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal, book their spots in the quarterfinals.

Before we settle in to what should be an exciting weekend, here are five things we learned from Day 4 at the Rogers Cup:

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Andreescu is a top-10 terminator

She’s always up for a challenge and so far this season Bianca Andreescu has been money against the sport’s elite.

The 19-year-old eliminated fifth-ranked Kiki Bertens from the tournament with a 6-1, 6-7 (7), 6-4 victory and improved to 5-0 against top-10 opponents this season.

“What I’ve accomplished this year has been a dream come true,” she told reporters in Toronto following the match. “I’ve been working so hard for this moment. And all I can say is that it’s all worth it in the end because this is what I’ve dreamt of. I would say my goals for the end of the year would have to be to break the top 10.

“I really believe that I can do that. And play in the WTA tour finals.”

She also became just the fifth Canadian woman to reach the tournament’s quarterfinals since 1979 joining Carling Bassett (1985), Helen Kelesi (1987), Patricia Hy (1992) and Aleksandra Wozniak (2012).

Khachanov will ruin your birthday

Felix Auger-Aliassime wanted to celebrate his 19th birthday with a victory. Karen Khachanov had other plans. The Russian won a hard-fought three sets 6-7 (7), 7-5, 6-3 to beat the young Canadian in front of Auger-Aliassime’s hometown crowd.

Khachanov, who benefitted from Auger-Aliassime’s 12 double faults, allowed the crowd’s enthusiasm (read: loud booing and ill-timed whistling) to affect his composure.

The 23-year-old didn’t hold back when addressing the crowd’s behaviour at his post-match media availability.

“I cannot deny that I got a little bit crazy with the crowd. But I’m really a bit disappointed, I could say, with the crowd as well,” Khachanov explained. “I don’t have anything against when they cheer for Felix. It’s normal. He’s home favourite, especially from Montreal. I wish they could cheer the same way in Russia for me.

“But still, you know, not when I miss or not wishing me to miss, screaming during the points, out. I think it’s unrespectful. I just got crazy.”

Khachanov added with a smile: “On the other side, I provoke the crowd, and that gave me also some kind of energy, as well. I don’t know. I was doing some bullshit, honestly.”

Despite Auger-Aliassime’s loss, the Montreal crowd serenaded the hometown favourite to wish him a happy birthday.

Kenin needs less than an hour

Did Sofia Kenin have an appointment she needed to get to or something? The American wasted little time beating Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska 6-2, 6-2.

It took her a mere 57 minutes 15 seconds to get past Yastremska in what is now the quickest match so far at the Rogers Cup on either the women’s or men’s side (excluding injury retirements).

Kenin was efficient, finishing the day a perfect 6-for-6 on break points saved and 4-for-4 on break points won.

The victory comes just two days after Kenin earned the biggest win of her young career when she knocked off world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty – a three-setter that lasted 1:56:40.

Based on all this, plus some first-hand experience, Kenin’s quarterfinals opponent Elina Svitolina isn’t underestimating the 20-year-old.

“I played against her in Indian Wells and didn’t know much about her game,” Svitolina, who eliminated Belinda Bencic for her spot in the quarterfinals, said of Kenin. “So now we’ve seen a lot of matches of hers because she’s been winning a lot and playing some great tennis, so it’s going to be another tough battle.”

Zverev’s double-digit aces = revenge on Basilashvili

Germany’s Alexander Zverev wasn’t required to wait too long to avenge a dramatic loss to Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili. In fact, the pair met just 12 days after Basilashvili beat Zverev in the Hamburg European Open semifinals.

This time it was Zverev who emerged victorious in another three-set match that ended on a tiebreak.

Zverev, who beat Roger Federer to win the 2017 Rogers Cup, relied on his serve to be the difference as he out-aced Basilashvili 15-3.

Monfils stays hot on the hard court

Gael Monfils was an underdog heading into his Round of 16 match with Hubert Hurkacz despite having won eight of his previous nine main draw matches that took place on a hard-court surface – a streak aided by his victory over Stan Wawrinka in the finals of the 2019 Rotterdam Open earlier this year.

Well, on Thursday night, Monfils proved the cappers incorrect and the underdog prevailed in two sets 6-4, 6-0 over Hubert Hurkacz.

Monfils will attempt to keep his hard-court hot streak intact when he meets Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarters.

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