Thiem, Zverev sent packing in Montreal quarter-finals

Dominic Thiem (left) was defeated by Rafael Nadal (right) at the French Open held in June. (AFP pic)

MONTREAL: Second seed Dominic Thiem and third-seeded Alexander Zverev suffered surprise defeats in Friday’s ATP Montreal Masters quarter-finals, leaving top seed Rafael Nadal a relatively clear field in defending his title.

Austrian Thiem hit the wall in a 6-3, 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Russia’s eighth-seeded Daniil Medvedev while Zverev was unable to make an impression on Russian sixth seed Karen Khachanov, losing 6-3, 6-3 in 74 minutes.

Nadal, an 18-time Grand Slam singles champion from Spain, takes on Italy’s Fabio Fognini later while France’s Gael Monfils and Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut meet in the day’s concluding quarter-final.

Zverev suffered the first blemish on what had been a perfect 7-0 record in Montreal after winning the 2017 edition in his maiden visit to the city, which alternates with Toronto as host venue each year.

Khachanov and Medvedev are 1-1 in their rivalry, having played each other in Moscow last season and in 2017 at the NextGen final in Milan.

“It’s never easy to play a good friend, especially from the same country,” Khachanov said. “Daniil is having a great season. The match will be difficult.

“He’s a dangerous opponent. He has been destroying everyone this week. It should be a great match.”

Two-time Roland Garros finalist Thiem, who had never won a match in Canada over five years of trying before this week, said he did not have a chance against Medvedev as a hectic travel schedule caught up with him in his 56-minute loss.

Thiem came to Canada after winning his home Kitbuehel event on clay and successfully made the surface switch for two winning matches. But it all went wrong in his third match.

“With all the traveling and short transition, two very tough matches yesterday and two days ago, I think the battery was empty today. I was not on my 100%,” he said.

“This is just not enough in the quarter-finals of a Masters 1000, especially against a guy like Daniil, who is in a great shape, who is playing amazing tennis.

“I was not able to go the long rallies with him. That’s basically the only chance to beat him. It’s just a logical score and result what happened today.”

Tired Thiem tumbles

Thiem will rest before next week’s Cincinnati Masters, the last major tune-up before the US Open starts on August 26.

Thiem went down to Medvedev with 21 unforced errors and no chance at a break point.

The Russian winner, who lost the Barcelona clay final to Thiem in April, struck 18 winners.

“I was expecting a tougher match. I was happy that I was able to play so well, to beat him so easily,” Medvedev said.

“It saved me a lot of energy. It gave me a lot of confidence, so I’m very happy.”

Thiem stressed that he has no injury problems, but simply needs to regain strength.

“I was very flat,” he said. “It’s just logical that I was very, very tired. Maybe against other players it would have been a closer match.

“But he has great momentum, playing amazing, especially on these hard courts. I didn’t have any chance like that.”