Canada’s Auger-Aliassime falls to Norway’s Ruud in National Bank Open quarter-final

Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime is out of the National Bank Open after dropping a 6-1, 6-2 decision to Norway’s Casper Ruud in quarter-final play Friday at IGA Stadium.

The Montrealer was the last remaining Canadian in the ATP Tour event.

Auger-Aliassime entered play without dropping a set this week but came out flat on an overcast afternoon. Ruud wrapped up the first set in a brisk 36 minutes and didn’t let up from there to the disappointment of the partisan crowd.

The fourth-seeded Ruud will next play No. 8 Hubert Hurkacz of Poland, a 7-6 (4), 6-7 (5), 6-1 winner over Nick Kyrgios.

Unseeded players were scheduled to play in the evening quarter-finals. American Tommy Paul was to face Britain’s Daniel Evans and Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta was to meet British qualifier Jack Draper.

Auger-Aliassime couldn’t get on track despite vocal support from the near-capacity crowd. He was shanking more shots than usual and unforced errors seemed to come at the worst times.

WATCH | Montreal’s Auger-Aliassime ousted in quarter-finals at National Bank Open:

Auger-Aliassime falls in quarter-finals at National Bank Open

The Montreal native lost 6-1, 6-2 to Norway’s Casper Ruud to be ousted from the National Bank Open.

Ruud was clinical in his attack and kept the pressure on his opponent. Auger-Aliassime seemed to always be on his heels and forced to play defence against the consistent Norwegian.

The Canadian gave up two quick breaks in the second set before finally holding serve to get to 1-4. Ruud completed the win in 74 minutes.

Auger-Aliassime was hoping to become the first Canadian to reach the semifinals at this event since Denis Shapovalov in 2017.

Hurkacz gets past Wimbledon finalist Kyrgios

Earlier, Hurkacz took advantage of two double-faults by Kyrgios early in the third set for the first service break of their match. He rolled from there to end the Australian’s nine-match winning streak.

“Nick is a super opponent, he can make every single shot,” Hurkacz said. “He doesn’t really have that many weaknesses, if any. I was just trying to serve [well] and stay aggressive.”

There was no wasted energy from Kyrgios, who played like he had a cab waiting outside.

He’d usually bounce the ball once and go right into his service motion. The pace of play agreed with Hurkacz, a six-foot-five right-hander who matched the Australian’s power game.

Both players had break opportunities but tiebreakers were needed to settle the first two sets.

Kyrgios, who dispatched defending champion and world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev in the second round, slowed in the third set and his serve lost some of its zip.

“I’m not a machine, I’m a human,” Kyrgios said. “My knees were sore, my back was sore, my abdominal [area] was sore. I was trying to stay moving, but I just stiffened up.”

Kyrgios entered play with wins in 15 of his last 16 matches, with the only defeat coming to Novak Djokovic in last month’s Wimbledon final.

The semifinals are set for Saturday and the final of the US$6.57-million Masters 1000 tournament goes Sunday.

Ottawa’s Dabrowski advances to doubles semifinal 

Two-time champion Simona Halep has moved on to the semifinals of the National Bank Open.

The Romanian player dispatched Coco Gauff of the United States 6-4, 7-6 on Friday.

The 30-year-old Halep won the title in 2016 and 2018 when it was still called the Rogers Cup.

She’ll face the winner of the quarter-final between American Jessica Pegula and Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva.

Halep is now 4-0 in singles matches against Gauff on the WTA Tour.

Later, Ottawa’s Gabriela Dabrowski and partner Giuliana Olmos of Mexico defeated Andreja Klepac of Slovenia and Chile’s Alexa Guarachi 2-6, 6-2 (10) to advance to the doubles semifinal.

The quarter-final between Halep on Gauff on Friday was the only one at the National Bank Open with two seeded players. Gauff is the tournament’s 10th seed and Halep is 15th.

An evenly contested first set saw both players take turns controlling the pace. Halep pulled away in part thanks to a pair of deep returns from Gauff that were well out of bounds.

The crowd at Sobeys Stadium on York University’s campus also seemed equally split, with Romanian flags dotting the stands but calls of “Let’s go Coco!” often punctuating the breaks in play.

Gauff was down a double break 4-1 in the second set, battling back from the brink to tie it up. The 18-year-old American clenched her fist and yelled “come on!” when Halep’s return landed out of bounds to tie the set 5-5.

The see-saw match continued, with Halep digging deep to rally from a 30-0 deficit to take a 6-5 lead. Gauff then used her powerful forehand to force tiebreak, with a deep lob going past the charging Halep.

Gauff had a poorly timed double fault to give Halep a 6-2 advantage in the tiebreak and force match point. The teenager then put a backhand into the net to end the match as Halep advanced.

In later quarter-finals, 12th seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland was set to face Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil and 14th seed Karolina Pliskova was scheduled to take on China’s Zheng Qinwen.

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