If you were planning to spend a pleasant evening watching top-seeded Rafael Nadal do his thing in the semifinals of the Rogers Cup, you were out of luck.Nadal received a free pass into Sunday’s final (4 p.m., Sportsnet One) when 16th-seeded Frenchman Gaël Monfils withdrew with an ankle injury. The action came less than two hours after Monfils upset 10th-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain 6-4,3-6, 7-6 (2) in a quarter-final that was 21 hours in the making.Nadal will face Daniil Medvedev, who defeated fellow Russian Karen Khachanov in the other semifinal.In the moment after his victory, Monfils cast some doubt as to whether he would be able to come back and play Nadal after about two hours of rest.
Gaël Monfils of France addresses the spectators after pulling out of his match against Rafael Nadal of Spain because of an injury during Day 9 of the Rogers Cup at IGA Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019, in Montreal.
Minas Panagiotakis /
“I was happy that I fought no matter what,” noted Monfils, who said earlier in the week he was not 100 per cent physically. “As I say, I felt good this week, tried to give my best. I think I showed today also that I was a fighter. Now I hope is not that bad. Honestly, I don’t know. I need to relax and see in two hours if I’ll be fine to play another match. The match is going to be a good one. I don’t know if my body is ready yet, but I’ll find out.”Two hours later, Monfils had his answer and he pulled out after talking to his coach, Liam Smith.“My coach asked how bad was my ankle? I felt it. I say, I didn’t roll it like full, but I roll it a little bit, enough for me to be careful,” Monfils said.“He told me I had no chance. I was like: ‘Yeah, but we never know,’” Monfils said. “He knows I love these matches, night session, Rafa. I’m playing tennis for that, for the big moments, big shows. He said: ‘But not this one.’ He’s right, because we’ve been battling all the year. I was unfortunate in March, a little bit again in July. Maybe it was a safest decision not to play tonight.”The weatherman didn’t do Monfils any favours.His quarter-final match against Agut was originally scheduled for Friday night, but a thunderstorm forced organizers to suspend play with Monfils holding a 30-0 lead in the first game.Organizers held out hope they would able to complete the match Friday night but, with no sign of clearing skies, they abandoned the session at 10:28 p.m. and scheduled the resumption of the match for 1 p.m. SaturdayLight showers put an end to that plan and play didn’t resume until 3:20.The rain delays had a domino effect on Saturday’s schedule.The first semifinal between sixth-seeded Khachanov and eighth-seeded Medvedev, had been scheduled for 3 p.m., but didn’t start until 6.Medvedev took only one hour and 23 minutes to upset Khachanov 6-1, 7-6 (6).Medvedev and Khachanov are both 23 and grew up together in Moscow, but Medvedev said he didn’t dwell on their past.”But it is, of course, a very special match,” Medvedev said. “Before the match, I hadn’t thought about that, but I quickly understood it was going to be the match for me to become the top one in Russia, maybe top eight in the world. So it was a big match. Both of us, we don’t like to play each other, so we were tense.”Medvedev will be playing Nadal for the first time.“Of course, it’s extra special,” Medvedev said. “I played Novak and Roger a few times. It’s different, I have to say. Yeah, there is some extra pressure. At the same time, it’s fun to play them because, well, that’s what I have been working for all my life“As a kid, I saw them already winning Grand Slams on TV,” Medvedev added. “I would never expect to play against them, especially in the finals of a Masters 1000. I won’t be intimidated. I want to win every match I play. Hopefully, I can do it tomorrow.”Tennis Canada will reimburse ticket-holders for the cancelled session. Tournament director Eugène Lapierre said this was the first year the event had insurance to cover losses from weather-related cancellations.Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Indian veteran Rohan Bopanna lost their doubles semifinal to the Dutch team of Robin Haase and Wesley Koolhof 7-6 (3), 7-6 (7).In the other doubles semifinal, Marcel Granollers of Spain and Horacio Zeballos of Argentina defeated American Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury of Britain 7-6 (7), 6-3, 10-7. The doubles final gets under way Sunday at 1:30 email@example.com/zababes1