By Max Gao
No. 1 seed Daniil Medvedev continued his quest for another run to the final of the National Bank Open with a dominant 6-2, 6-4 win over Australian qualifier James Duckworth in 68 minutes. The two-time Grand Slam finalist will now face No. 7 seed Hubert Hurkacz, who defeated Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili, 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-4, in a late-night epic to complete the quarter-final line-up.
Medvedev Downs Duckworth
With four tough wins already under his belt this week, Duckworth entered this match intending to throw off the World No. 2 with his variety, namely his backhand slice and serve-and-volley skills. But the Australian quickly came undone by the Russian, who was ready to match him stroke-for-stroke in extended backhand-to-backhand rallies. Medvedev always seemed to have the upper hand, breaking twice en route to taking a one-set lead in half an hour.
After a short bathroom break, the top seed picked up right where he left off, claiming a couple of early breaks to jump out to an early 4-1 lead. Medvedev couldn’t serve out the match at 5-2, gifting Duckworth back one of the breaks and allowing the Australian to offer a little more resistance. But in the end, the Russian was able to serve out the match at the second time of asking, closing it out with an ace out wide.
Hurkacz Holds Off Basilashvili in First Match of Toronto Campaign
After receiving a bye in the first round and a walkover from Kei Nishikori in the second, Hurkacz was looking to hit the ground running in his first match of the week against Basilashvili, whom he had never played before.
The Pole started brilliantly, breaking in the fourth game, but he was unable to sustain his advantage as his older and more experienced counterpart began to grow in confidence. The first set would have to be decided in a tiebreak where both men had their fair share of opportunities, but it was Basilashvili who was able to rise to the occasion, jumping out to a one-set lead after a marathon, 68-minute opening set.
Hurkacz, to his credit, responded in brilliant fashion. After taking a short bathroom break, the No. 7 seed broke to start the second and sustained that advantage for the rest of the set, winning 100% (16/16) of the points on his first serve and dropping just five on his second. Once he leveled things at one-set-all, Hurkacz earned an early break in the decider and staved off an impressive onslaught from Basilashvili, who was unable to cover any of his four break points to get back on serve. After saving three break points while serving for the match at 5-4, Hurkacz was able to convert his second match point and earn his first main-draw victory at the National Bank Open.