It took Rafael Nadal some time to get into gear but, once he did, the top-seeded Spaniard had no trouble beating seventh-seeded Fabio Fognini 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 Friday evening to reach the semifinals of the Rogers Cup Canadian Open men’s tennis championships.After second-seeded Dominic Thiem and third-seeded Alexander Zverev were upset in afternoon action, it appeared the tournament was about to lose its star attraction when Fognini rolled through the first set in 41 minutes.”There are days that things happen like this and it’s difficult to find a real reason,” Nadal said. “I think things happen quick here because the court is fast and it’s true that in the first set, sometimes the player who is taking advantage stays with the adrenalin high and is able to increase the advantage. It’s difficult to stop the momentum of the opponent, no?
Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after winning against Fabio Fognini of Italy during Day 8 of the Rogers Cup at IGA Stadium on Friday, August 9, 2019, in Montreal.
Minas Panagiotakis /
“In general terms, we had an up-and-down match, but a positive match for me because I have been playing better and better when the match went on,” Nadal added.With his showing this week, Nadal will pass the idle Roger Federer for the No. 2 spot in the rankings behind Novak Djokovic, but he dismissed a suggestion he’s playing his tennis.“No, I am not better than ever before, I am how I am today,” said Nadal, who is looking for his fifth Rogers Cup title. “I’m having a good season more or less, being competitive almost in every single event that I have been playing.“Of course, I had some physical issues the first three, four months of the season. But I have been playing solid, played the final in Australia, then semifinals in Indian Wells, then three semifinals on clay, two titles, semifinals at Wimbledon.“So I have been solid and semifinals here now. I’m happy the way that I am competing and enjoying. Let’s see tomorrow when I have an opportunity to be in another final.“The weatherman might have made that opportunity a little easier.Nadal will meet the winner of the quarter-final match between 10th-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain and 16th-seeded Gaël Monfils of France. They took the court a little before 9 p.m. and Monfils won the first two points before a thunderstorm halted play.Officials held out a slim hope they would be able to complete the match Friday night, but the rain was still falling at 11 p.m. and the match will be completed beginning Saturday at 1 p.m. and the winner will have to play Nadal with little rest.Nadal won his first title here in 2005 and said he’s different player today.“I lost things on the road, so I just tried to add other things on the way to keep being competitive during all these years,” Nadal said. ”One of the most important things for me personally, and one of the things that I’m more satisfied, is I have been able to find always a solution to keep being competitive at the highest level possible after a lot of problems, a lot of issues. My personality didn’t change much. But, of course, I am almost 15 years older.”Shapovalov advances in doubles: Canadian Denis Shapovalov and Rohan Bopanna, a 39-year-old doubles specialist from India, reached the doubles semifinal with a walkover against Benoît Paire and Stan Wawrinka, who withdrew with a knee injury. Shapovalov and Bopanna will play the Dutch duo of Robin Haase and Wesley Koolhof, who defeated American twins Mike and Bob Bryan 6-7 (8), 7-6 (5), 10-7.Continental flavour: The quarter-final lineup featured eight seeded players for the first time here since 2009. And for the first time in the history of the Canadian Open, dating back to 1881, all eight quarter-finalists are from Europe.While the quarter-final lineup is impressive, it can’t match the 2009 Rogers Cup when the top eight players in the rankings reached the final eight for the only time in the 40-year history of the ATP Tour. No. 3 Andy Murray defeated No. 6 Juan Martin del Potro in the final.Raonic withdraws from Cincinnati: Milos Raonic, who retired from his second-round match against fellow Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime in the second round here, has withdrawn from the Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati next week. He’s dealing with a back injury. Auger-Aliassime drew a qualifier in the first round and, if he wins, he’ll play the seventh-seeded Zverev.firstname.lastname@example.org/zababes1Related