Nishikori downs Nadal in Montreal quarters

Sat Aug 15, 2015 2:06am EDT
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(Reuters) - Kei Nishikori swept aside Rafa Nadal in the quarter-finals of the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Friday 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-times 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 U.S. Open. The 25-year-old reached the final at Flushing Meadows last year only to lose in straight sets to Marin Cilic.

"(Nadal) wasn’t making many first serves tonight, so I knew I had to be more aggressive on the second serve,” Nishikori said. “Everything was working well, so I am very happy to win today.”

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.

“You have to give credit to (Gulbis) for playing an excellent match,” Djokovic said. “He was always making me play an extra shot, and putting a lot of pressure on my second serve.   Continued...

Aug 14, 2015; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Kei Nishikori of Japan and Rafael Nadal of Spain shake hands after their match during the Rogers Cup tennis tournament at Uniprix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports