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Andreescu, Williams set up dream final in Toronto

Bianca Andreescu won her first straight-set match at the Rogers Cup beating Sofia Kenin of USA in the semifinals at the Aviva Centre in Toronto, Ontario. Photos: Tennis Canada
Karthik Swaminathan

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Canada couldn’t have asked for a better finale as one of their best talents prepares to square off against one of the greatest athletes ever to have held a racquet

Toronto: Its almost two months to the date since Toronto Raptors won the NBA title for the first time. They were up against Golden State Warriors, a unit that boasted some of the greatest names to have slam-dunked, and not many gave them a chance. After all, it is the Americans that have dominated the arena while Canadians have played mute spectators.

And speaking of Americans, there’s this racquet-wielding lady who requires no introduction. Over two decades, she has simply gone from strength to strength and shouldered the sport (the last American man to win a Grand Slam title was way back in 2003) besides encouraging a generation of athletes. Serena Jameka Williams. The name says it all.

Canada, though, has been relatively quiet but their current crop of youngsters has the country dreaming and rightly so. With the likes of doubles specialist Daniel Nestor long retired, Eugenie Bouchard flattering to deceive, and Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil nearing 30, the country’s search for a top tennis star seems to have been infused with fresh energy, courtesy 20-year-old Denis Shapovalov, and 19-year-olds Bianca Andreescu and Félix Auger-Aliassime. And of those three, it is Andreescu that has reaped the best of results this year, despite an injury layoff.

Yesterday, Andreescu was the first Canadian woman in 50 years to reach the semi-finals here at Rogers Cup. Today, she’s the first to reach the final in five decades.

The Mississauga native accomplished this historic feat by upending 20-year-old American Sofia Kenin 6–4, 7–6 (5). It was her first straight sets victory of the tournament and she will now face three-time champion Serena Williams on Sunday in what will be the pair’s first meeting.

Serena Williams fought back against an inspired Marie Bouzkova to reach her fifth Rogers Cup final

“For sure there’s some pressure, but I have nothing to lose, really… I didn’t expect to be in the Rogers Cup final, but I’m just — … I’m just going to try to stay in the present moment,” said the 19-year-old.

Andreescu is the first Canadian to reach the Rogers Cup final since 1969—when Canadians Faye Urban and Vicky Berner played in the final. The Canadian teen has had a year to remember. Not only did she win Indian Wells at the start of the year, she has also won 26 of 30 matches thus far this season. Her latest victory marks her 23rd win on hard courts; matching World No. 3 Karolina Pliskova for the most on the WTA Tour.

Serena Looks to Capture Fourth Rogers Cup Title
The 23-time Grand Slam champion came from behind to defeat Czech qualifier Marie Bouzkova 1–6, 6–3, 6–3 to advance to her fifth career final in Canada (from nine appearances) and attempt to match Chris Evert and Monica Seles for the most Rogers Cup titles in the Open Era (4).

History seems to be on her side when she faces Andreescu. Serena, the World No. 9, has only lost one final here and that seems a lifetime ago, in her Rogers Cup debut (2000), when she fell to Martina Hingis. However, her young adversary is yet to lose to a top-10 player this season.

Popcorn at the ready!

“Yeah, you know, my mind wanders off a lot. At one point I was thinking about my bra.” Let’s just say even the most accomplished woman’s tennis player isn’t always dialled in shot-for-shot.

Women’s Singles – Semifinals
[8] S. Williams (USA) d [Q] M. Bouzkova (CZE) 1-6, 6-3, 6-3
B. Andreescu (CAN) d S. Kenin (USA) 6-4, 7-6(5)

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Djokovic to meet Medvedev in Cincinnati Masters semis

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Novak Djokovic. Photo: @ATP

Washington: World’s number one Novak Djokovic reached the semifinals of the ongoing Cincinnati Masters after defeating Frenchman Lucas Pouille in their last-eight match.

Djokovic defeated Pouille 7-6(2), 6-1 in a contest that lasted 86 minutes on Friday.

The Serbian has now made at least the last four in five consecutive tournaments he has played, and the top seed is into the semi-finals at this ATP Masters 1000 event for the seventh time.

The 32-year-old is two victories away from lifting his 34th Masters 1000 trophy, which would move him to within one crown of Rafael Nadal’s record 35.

In the semifinal, Djokovic will next face Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, who will try to make his second Masters 1000 final in as many weeks.

The World’s No. 1 leads their head to head record 3-1, but Medvedev won their most recent meeting at this year’s Monte-Carlo Masters.

In the other semifinal, France’s Richard Gasquet will play against Belgian 16th seed David Goffin.

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Kyrgios fined $113,000 for meltdown at Cincinnati Masters

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Nick Kyrgios.

Cincinnati: Controversial Australian star Nick Kyrgios was fined 113,000 after his explosive Cincinnati Masters meltdown which saw him smash two racquets, launch an abusive tirade at the chair umpire before appearing to spit at the official.

The ATP said the massive sanction included individual fines for ball abuse, leaving the court without permission, an audible obscenity and unsportsmanlike conduct during his second round loss to Russia’s Karen Khachanov.

Kyrgios, 24, was warned that he could also face another suspension from the sport once a full investigation has taken place.

After the world number 27 lost 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 to Khachanov on Wednesday night, he called umpire Fergus Murphy a “fuckin’ tool”, refused to shake his hand while spitting in the direction of the chair.

He had earlier been handed a time violation, docked a point and was warned again after leaving the court without permission at the end of the second set after which he was seen to destroy two racquets in the corridor.

Kyrgios screamed at Murphy that he was the “worst umpire, hands down”.

The various Kyrgios infractions included four fines of 20,000 each for unsportsmanlike conduct plus another 20,000 for verbal abuse.

“In addition to the on-site fines, the ATP is looking further into what happened during and immediately after the match to see if additional action is warranted,” said an ATP statement.

“That could result in an additional fine and/or suspension.”

The following provides a breakdown of the penalties incurred by Kyrgios:

Ball Abuse (Warning)
Unsportsmanlike Conduct (Point Penalty) – US$ 20,000 fine
Leaving the Court – US$ 3,000 fine
Audible Obscenity – US$ 5,000 fine
Unsportsmanlike Conduct – US$ 5,000 fine
Unsportsmanlike Conduct – US$ 20,000 fine
Verbal Abuse – US$ 20,000 fine
Unsportsmanlike Conduct – US$ 20,000 fine
Unsportsmanlike Conduct – US$ 20,000 fine

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Federer knocked out, Djokovic avoids upset loss in Cincinnati Masters

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Roger federer.

Washington: Seven-time champion Roger Federer bowed out of the ongoing Cincinnati Masters after facing a shocking defeat to Russian qualifier Andrey Rublev in his Round of 16 match.

The 21-year-old Rublev defeated Federer 6-3, 6-4 in just 62 minutes on Thursday for his second top 5 victory in as many months.

The 62-minute defeat was Federer’s fastest in more than 16 years, since his 54-minute defeat against Franco Squillari in the first round of 2003 Sydney, reported the ATP Tour website.

“He was super clean. Defence, offence, serving well. Didn’t give me anything. He was everywhere. It was tough for me, but an excellent match by him. I was impressed… I think I just have to play better overall to hang with him,” said Federer while praising Rublev.

Rublev is through to his first ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final and will meet Coupe Rogers finalist and countryman Daniil Medvedev for a place in the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic eased through to the last eight after defeating Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain 6-3, 6-4 in his Thursday”s clash.

The 32-year-old will next meet France’s Lucas Pouille in a rematch of their Australian Open semi-final in January, which was a straight-sets win for Djokovic.

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