Federer will start against either Roberto Bautista Agut or Pablo Cuevas, while Nadal’s opening foe will be either Jeremy Chardy, who has played so well in Montreal this week, or recent Newport victor Rajeev Ram. Djokovic broke again to seal a two-and-a-half hour struggle and keep his hopes of a 25th Masters crown alive.
“I didn’t change anything”, Chardy said.
Nishikori notched a break point in each set to pick up the straight-set win. “Hopefully I’ll be able to rise to the occasion and play the best match of the week”. “I passed well. I came up with some good passing shots and that was the difference”. “Anyway, the worst case I will lose”.
The 28-year-old top seed will face Great Britain’s Andy Murray after he beat Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-0 in a ruthless display on court.
Seventh seed Nadal was playing in Canada for the first time since winning his third title here in 2013; he now stands 28-7 in the country. “I don’t usually like to play against him, but the last couple of matches – I had chances in Australia and in Madrid last year – so I knew I was close”. “Everything was working well, so I am very happy to win today”.
Murray will face either Bernard Tomic or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in his singles quarter-finals.
Rainy, muggy weather upset the schedule. Djokovic and Gulbis were to play in the afternoon, but didn’t start until the evening.
The Scot will move into second on the ATP ranking list behind long-time number one Novak Djokovic, his Sunday finals opponent on the Canadian hardcourts.
Chardy staved off seven match points against Isner. Chardy withstood 32 aces from the towering American in advancing to his first career Masters 1000 semifinal. Djokovic is now ranked world number one and is eyeing to win fourth Canadian crown, winning the tournament in 2007, 2011 and 2012.
Djokovic brushed aside the challenge of the unseeded Frenchman, dropping just 10 points in as many service games en route to a 6-4, 6-4 victory in one hour and 20 minutes.
The fourth game saw Tsonga with some break chances which would have been massive for his confidence.
Chardy fought through despite 32 aces from Isner, who found himself struggling in a 19-minute second-set tiebreaker.
In the late semi-final, Nishikori appeared to be tired in the second set as Murray won 12 of the final 13 points. “Sometimes when you go through the emotional challenges, it slips out of your mouth”, said Djokovic.
So he tried. He went for it. But in the end, the outcome was the same as Djokovic, hampered by a right arm injury that looks like classic tennis elbow but which he has managed throughout the week, reached the Rogers Cup final after a 6-4, 6-4 victory.
Djokovic owns a 19-8 head-to-head record against Murray, including a five-set win in the semis at this year’s French Open and in the Aussie Open final.