MONTREAL — Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan outlasted Daria Kasatkina of Russia 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (8) in a Canadian Open quarter-final on Saturday in Montreal.
World number two Aryna Sabalenka crashed out of the Canadian Open, falling 7-6(2) 4-6 6-3 to Russia’s Liudmila Samsonova in the round of 16, while top American Jessica Pegula staved off compatriot Coco Gauff 6-2 5-7 7-5 to make the semi-finals.
Frustrated world number one Carlos Alcaraz was knocked out of the Toronto Masters 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 as American Tommy Paul ended the Spaniard’s 14-match winning streak.
With a few hundred hardy fans left, Rybakina finally finished off Kasatkina with an overhand smash on her fifth match point. Rybakina also fended off a match point with an ace to even the tiebreaker at 8.
“I´ve played three sets, tough battles, but like this, honestly, physically it´s really tough,” Rybakina said on court after the match.
“It´s so late. I´ve never played this late. Thank you so much. Hopefully, somehow I can recover,” Rybakina added according to AP.
Meanwhile, Jessica Pegula beat doubles partner Coco Gauff 6-2, 5-7, 7-5 in an all-American match to advance to the semi-finals for the third straight year.
Tied 5-5 in the third set, the sixth-seeded Gauff double-faulted for a ninth time while defending a breakpoint to give the sixth-seeded Pegula the edge.
Pegula served out to improve to 2-1 in the rivalry and end a four-match losing streak against top-10 players. Gauff was coming off a victory Sunday in Washington.
“That was a good match,” Pegula said in her on-court interview. “It´s always tough to play your doubles partner – you know exactly what you´re trying to do. It just came down to the wire and who was going to compete better.”
Sabalenka, who arrived in Montreal with a chance to claim the number one spot from Iga Swiatek, showed plenty of fight in the nearly three-hour centre court battle but won only two of 13 break points while making 11 double faults, many at key moments.
Samsonova got two breaks from six chances, which helped the 15th-seeded Russian into the last eight, where she meets Swiss Belinda Bencic, a 6-7(3) 6-3 6-1 winner over seventh-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova in a clash of former champions.
“A really long day, I don’t really have the words right now, but I was happy of how I managed my energy,” said Samsonova. “I was feeling great on the court.”
Sabalenka, winner of three titles this season including the Australian Open, earlier hit 13 aces but more than offset those with double faults and one gave Samsonova the decisive break to move 5-3 up in the third, allowing her to serve out the match.
“Last year I played unbelievable in the States in general and this year I’m going crazy,” said Samsonova, who opened the North American hardcourt season last week with a run to the semis in Washington.
Top-seeded Alcaraz was unable to escape the poor form that has plagued him all week as he prepares for a US Open title defence starting in just over two weeks.
The 20-year-old muttered to himself and chastised his play during a match lasting more than two and a quarter hours.
Paul, ranked 14th, repeated his defeat of the Spaniard a year ago in the Montreal second round and now awaits a semi-final opponent from sixth seed Jannik Sinner and French showman Gael Monfils.
“I don’t know if I think I have the recipe, but I played a really good match today,” Paul said after notching another Canadian win over Alacraz.
“I went after my shots. You can’t start any points on your heels against him, he’ll take advantage of it so you’ve really got to go after your shots early in the rally.
“Luckily I was feeling really good, playing first-strike tennis.”
Alcaraz struggled early for the second straight match after barely escaping a third-round encounter with Hubert Hurkacz.
The reigning Wimbledon and US Open champion had 27 winners and 30 unforced errors while Paul’s numbers were 19 and 29.
After losing serve three times in the opening set, Alcaraz recovered enough to take the second.
But the Spaniard was well off his game, floating a volley wide to trail 4-2 in the final set.
Paul took quick advantage, advancing on his second match point from an Alcaraz return wide.
“I knew he would be there in the third set,” Paul said, adding: “It helps to have beaten an opponent before. That attitude is important.”
Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev was also sent spinning out of the tournament, falling 7-6 (9/7), 7-5 to Australian Alex de Minaur.
Medvedev had won his last seven matches in Toronto, including a title run in 2021.
But the 27-year-old was unable to get past the efficient game of number 18 De Minaur, who had lost four of five previous meetings with Medvedev.
“I had to play my best tennis,” De Minaur, runner-up at Los Cabos last weekend, said.
“It’s always a complete chess match between us, we’re both adaptable and can play many styles of tennis.