Mathieu Belanger/Tennis Canada
Late Saturday night, the resilient Pablo Carreno Busta advanced to the final of the National Bank Open presented by Rogers when he defeated Daniel Evans of Great Britain 7-5, 6-7(7), 6-2 at IGA Stadium.
The Spaniard, who’ll be competing in a Masters 1000 final for the very first time in his career, hopes to have enough left in the tank to stay the course.
In the game of cat and mouse, the Briton ended up the victim despite his Herculean efforts. Lacking his rival’s consistency, he was slow and prone to errors in the third set.
In the first set, Carreno Busta secured a break point at 3-3 and scored five straight points. But as he served at 5-4 to take the set, he was broken for only the second time in the entire tournament. The break opened the door for Evans to bring things to 5-5. Among the superpowers given to great tennis players is their ability to fix their mistakes quickly, and the eventual winner broke back and took the set.
The second set featured much of the same. Trailing 3-0, then 4-1, Carreno Busta rallied to 5-5. The outcome was decided in a hotly contested tiebreaker. For the first time this week, the Spaniard dropped a set due to his opponent’s skill.
In the deciding set, Carreno Busta didn’t falter. He ran Evans all around the court, as he so often does, and collected two breaks. When it was over, he shook Evans’ hand with a smile and the satisfaction of a job well done.
The match lasted 2 hours and 59 minutes and was Carreno Busta’s longest battle of the week. He scored 112 points versus 98 and said he was very happy to have held on.
“I think it was a tough match from beginning to end. There were some long rallies, and we put on a good show in the end. For the final, I’m going to rest and recover. I’m going to fight tomorrow, and I’ll be happy to do that.”
He faces Hubert Hurkacz (8) of Poland at 4 p.m.
Evans rallies in doubles
On Saturday night, still hungry for more tennis, Daniel Evans (GBR) extended his doubles journey with John Peers (AUS) at IGA Stadium in Montréal.
The pair was able to withstand Hubert Hurkacz and Jan Zielinski to reach the doubles final of the National Bank Open presented by Rogers. The match lasted 75 minutes, in front of a sparse crowd of die-hard fans who chose to stay in their seats rather than go home.
Evans and Peers will face the third-seeded team of doubles specialists Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands and Neal Skupski of Great Britain on Sunday afternoon. Their match will follow the singles bout scheduled to start at 4 p.m.
To earn the honour of competing for the doubles crown, Evans and Peers won 7-5, 4-6, 10-4 in a super-tiebreaker they played to perfection.
Despite digging themselves into a tiny 3-1 hole to start, they were able to capitalize on the Polish team’s collapse and secure 9 of the next 10 points.
The small consolation for Hurkacz is that he’ll be able to focus entirely on the singles final.