Nishikori knocks Nadal out of Rogers Cup

Former world number one sent packing from Rogers Cup with a straight-sets loss in the quarter-finals.

Kei Nishikori Rafael Nadal
It took Nishikori just 82 minutes to beat the 14-time Grand Slam champion [AP]

Kei Nishikori swept aside Rafa Nadal in the quarter-finals of the Rogers Cup in Montreal with a swift 6-2 6-4 victory, while world number one Novak Djokovic saved two match points before beating Latvian Ernests Gulbis.

Japan’s Nishikori, seeded fourth, took just 82 minutes to beat the Spaniard, a 14-time grand slam champion and a winner three times at the Rogers Cup.

“I was close in Madrid, but today I was dominating everything,” said Nishikori after getting his first win over Nadal in eight attempts.

“I definitely needed to change some of my tactics when playing against Rafa. I had to play 100 percent to beat him.”

Nishikori will next meet Andy Murray in the semi-finals after the Briton defeated defending champ Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 6-4 6-4.

Nishikori won his third title of the season in Washington last week and is hitting his stride ahead of the US Open. The 25-year-old reached the final at Flushing Meadows last year only to lose in straight sets to Marin Cilic.

Djokovic almost joined Nadal on the way out but rallied from a set down to beat Gulbis 5-7 7-6(7) 6-1, setting up a semi-final with Jeremy Chardy of France.

The Serb, who is looking for a fourth Canadian crown, said he would have had no complaints had Gulbis beat him.

The win extended Djokovic’s Master Series streak to 29 victories. He has not lost since Roger Federer beat him in Shanghai last year.

A victory in Montreal would be his record-tying fifth Masters Series title of the year, equaling his own mark in 2011 and Nadal’s from 2013.

Serena will take on Swiss Bencic in the semi-finals [EPA]Serena will take on Swiss Bencic in the semi-finals [EPA]

Elsewhere, world number one Serena Williams rolled into the semi-finals of the women’s event with a clinical 6-4 6-3 win over Italy’s Roberta Vinci, setting up an intriguing showdown with Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic.

Williams, a three-time champion on the Canadian hardcourts, stretched her winning streak in Toronto to 14 matches but on a humid evening she was made to sweat for her spot in the last four by her 53rd ranked opponent.

“I don’t feel like I’m at my best or anywhere near it,” said Williams, who will go for the Grand Slam at the U.S. Open. “But I feel like I’m going in the right direction and I want to keep that up.

“I definitely feel more positive today. I don’t want to peak too soon.”

Standing in the way of Williams’ return to the final is Bencic, who has eliminated two former-world number ones, Caroline Wozniacki and former Rogers Cup champion Ivanovic.

In other quarter-final action, second seeded Romanian Simona Halep sleepwalked through the first set before producing a remarkable comeback to record a 0-6 6-3 6-1 win over defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska.

Source: Reuters