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Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime has been eliminated from the National Bank Open after losing a 6-1, 6-2 decision to Norway’s Kasper Ruud in Friday’s quarterfinal game at the IGA Stadium.
Montreal was the last remaining Canadian to compete on the ATP Tour.
Auger-Aliassim entered the game this week without dropping a set, but pulled out on a cloudy day. Ruud completed the first set in 36 minutes and didn’t give up, to the dismay of the partisan crowd.
Ruud, seeded fourth, will take on No. 8 Hubert Hurkach of Poland, who won 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 6-1 over Nick Kyrgios.
The unseeded players had to play in the evening quarter-finals. American Tommy Paul was scheduled to face Britain’s Daniel Evans and Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta was scheduled to face British qualifier Jack Draper.
Auger-Aliassime failed to hit the right track despite the loud support of the overcrowded crowd. He landed more punches than usual and it seemed like unforced errors happened at the worst moments.
Ruud skillfully attacked and continued to put pressure on the opponent. Auger-Aliassime always seemed to be on his heels and was forced to play defense against the consistent Norwegian.
The Canadian gave up two quick breaks in the second set before finally holding the serve to go 1-4. Ruud completed the win in 74 minutes.
Auger-Aliassime hoped to be the first Canadian to reach the semi-finals at this tournament since Denis Shapovalov in 2017.
Previously, Gurkach had taken advantage of two double faults by Kyrgios early in the third set for the first service break in their match. He rolled out of there to break the Australian’s nine-match winning streak.
“Nick is a super opponent, he can make every punch,” Gurkach said. “He doesn’t really have many weaknesses, if any. I was just trying to serve (good) and stay aggressive.”
Kyrgios wasted no energy, playing as if a taxi was waiting for him outside.
He usually hit the ball once and immediately went to serve. The pace of play matched Gurkacs, a six-foot-five right-hander who matched the Aussie’s power play.
Both players had break opportunities, but tiebreaks were required to settle the first two sets.
Kyrgios, who dispatched defending champion and world number one Daniil Medvedev in the second round, slowed down in the third set and his serve lost some of its momentum.
“I am not a machine, I am a man,” Kyrgios said. “My knees hurt, my back hurt, my stomach (area) hurt. I tried to keep moving, but I just tensed up.”
Kyrgios has entered the game with wins in 15 of his last 16 matches, with the only defeat coming to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final last month.
The semi-finals are set for Saturday, while the $6.57 million Masters 1000 final will take place on Sunday.
– This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 12, 2022.