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Nadal reaches Toronto q/f, Novak’s run ends

| | Toronto

A 45-minute rain interruption did little to stop the progress of Rafael Nadal at the Toronto Masters as he defeated Stan Wawrinka 7-5, 7-6 (7/4) to reach the quarter-finals.

The halt in proceedings came 63 minutes into the opening set, after Wawrinka saved a Nadal set point for 5-all, with the Spaniard then holding serve for 6-5.

When the weather passed, the pair returned, with Nadal wrapping up the set on his second chance.

The second set was a battle as the Swiss, a three-time Grand Slam champion, fought back from an early break down, took a 2-1 lead, with the pair again trading breaks in the fifth and tenth games.

Nadal came from a mini-break down in the tiebreaker and secured victory on his second match point.

"It was a good match, a very positive victory for me over a tough opponent," Nadal said.

"I'm happy to see Stan playing well again. We had a good quality of tennis.

Nadal's win was his 17th from 20 played against Wawrinka.

Second seed Alexander Zverev, the holder, lined up a re-run of last week's Washington semi-final as he again takes on Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The Greek, who turns 20 on Sunday, knocked out his second seed in as many matches, stunning Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals.

Zverev rolled over Russian Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-2 in 52 minutes while never facing a break point.

Tsitsipas called his knockout of Djokovic, "the best match of my career. I knew I was playing pretty good today."

"He played very well and deserved to win without a doubt," Djokovic said. "I just played not that great.

Bulgarian fifth seed Grigor Dimitrov laboured for almost two and a half hours to subdue Frances Tiafoe of the United States 7-6 (7/1), 3-6, 7-6 (7/4).

He next faces Wimbledon runner-up and fourth seed Kevin Anderson who defeated Ilya Ivashka of Belarus 7-5, 6-3 to also make the last-eight.

Sixth seed Marin Cilic continued his quiet progress, beating Argentine 11th seed Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-2.

Canadian teen Denis Shapovalov went down to Robin Haase, losing 7-5, 6-2, ending local interest. The Dutch winner will take on Karen Khachanov, who beat eighth seed John Isner 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/1).

Halep destroys venus

Montreal: World number one Simona Halep crushed seven time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams in straight sets at the WTA Montreal event just hours after a delivering a marathon three-hour victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Top seed Halep took no prisoners against Williams, blitzing the 38-year-old American 6-2, 6-2 in just 71 minutes to reach the quarter-finals.

Halep's match against Pavlyuchenkova was originally scheduled for Wednesday night but heavy rains forced organizers to postpone it until Thursday morning.

The Romanian needed three gruelling sets to oust the world No 28 Russian but had a much easier time against veteran Williams who has yet to win a title in 2018.

Williams has struggled with her form this year and hasn't won a Grand Slam title since Wimbledon in 2008 when she beat sister Serena in the final.

"It's never easy to play either of the Williams sisters, and even though she was struggling, I knew I had to be focused on every ball, and stay focused until the end," Halep said.

"She wasn't feeling great on the court and it definitely wasn't her best day. And I'm happy to be the quarter-finals now."

Halep next faces number six seed Caroline Garcia, who overwhelmed former World No 1 Maria Sharapova hours earlier.

Halep and Garcia met in the quarter-finals of this event last year when it was held in Toronto with Halep coming out the winner 6-4, 6-2.

Halep leads Garcia in their career head-to-head 4-1 as Garcia's only career win over Halep was a 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) victory in the final of the WTA Beijing tournament in October.

US Open champion Sloane Stephens reached the quarter-finals with a rollercoaster 6-2, 7-5 win over Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro.

Stephens hit 34 winners to the qualifier's 13 and goes on to face Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia who beat German 10th seed Julia Goerges 6-3, 7-6 (7/2).

Australian 15th seed Ashleigh Barty also made the quarter-finals by seeing off Alize Cornet of France 7-6 (7/3), 6-4.

Britain's Johanna Konta returned to the court later Thursday and beat fifth seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-3, 6-4 for a place in the last-eight.

 
 
 
 
 

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