Tsitsipas celebrates birthday with move into Toronto Masters quarter-finals

Tsitsipas celebrates birthday with move into Toronto Masters quarter-finals

Stefanos Tsitsipas turned 23 on Thursday with a solid win into his fourth ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final of the season, beating Olympic silver medallist Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-2 in Toronto.

The Greek third seed set up a last-eight meeting with the in-form player of the moment, Norway's Casper Ruud, who extended his summer win streak to 13 matches.

The sixth-seeded Scandinavian dispatched Serb Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 6-3, continuing his momentum after winning three straight titles on clay prior to starting his hardcourt campaign this week.

Ruud claimed his 37th win of the season against just nine defeats and said that making the transition from clay to hardcourts is all a part of the season.

"It's fun to play on hardcourt, even if I've had my best results on clay; my best Slam result this season was at the Australian Open (quarter-finals).

"This is a surface which I think can suit my game. I'm very motivated to come back to the hardcourts.

"We will be on them for the next seven or eight months from now."

Tsitsipas now owns 177 ATP-level match wins and has defeated Khachanov four times.

He finished off Khachanov in 80 minutes, with the Russian committing more than 30 unforced errors.

Birthday boy Tsitsipas received a serenade from fans and a cake on court.

"This is one of the best feelings that you can experience on a tennis court, I'm  glad they remembered," he said.

"It's always a beautiful day when it's your birthday."

The Greek knows he will have to work against Ruud on Friday.

"Casper is a player who has been developing very good recently; he had an amazing clay court season," Tsitsipas said.

"We are the same age, we grew up playing each other; it can be quite intense."

A 20-ace performance was more than enough to see John Isner through to the last eight as the Atlanta tournament champion won an eighth consecutive match, defeating fourth seed Andrey Rublev 7-5, 7-6 (7/5).

The American who stays as much as possible in his tennis comfort zone in North America showed his determination to reach an 18th quarter-final at the elite Masters level as he saved three break points in the seventh game of the second set with aces.

The 36-year-old spent an hour and three quarters in advancing with 29 winners and 28 unforced errors.

"It was a good day's  work," Isner said. "I've been under the radar this year – possibly written off.

"I've not played a lot this season. But when I have played I've been tough to beat.

"I'm feeling fresh and healthy and ready to go. I can do a lot of damage – even at 36."

Fellow American Reilly Opelka, who has eliminated Nick Kyrgios and Grigor Dimitrov this week, added Lloyd Harris to his victim's list with a 4-6, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/4) comeback effort.

Spanish 10th seed Roberto Bautista Agut defeated Argentine eighth seed Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 and next plays Opelka, whom he beat this season in the Doha first round.

AFP

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