MONTREAL: Hubert Hurkacz shrugged off a slow start to upset fourth seed Casper Ruud on Saturday and book a title clash with Pablo Carreno Busta at the ATP Montreal Masters.
Poland’s Eighth-seeded Hurkacz needed two hours to claim a 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 victory over his Norwegian opponent, who had dropped just one set all week.
But his workload was minor compared to that of unseeded Spaniard Carreno Busta, who needed three hours to hold off Briton Daniel Evans 7-5, 6-7 (7/9), 6-2.
Carreno Busta had a match point in the second set tiebreaker but couldn’t close out victory for another 50 minutes, finally sprinting away as he won the last dozen points of the match.
Evans sent over his sixth double-fault of a long evening to surrender the contest.
Carreno Busta reached his first Masters final, where he’ll be vying to become the first unseeded Canadian champion since Argentina’s Guillermo Canas in 2002.
Against Ruud, Hurkacz finished with 47 winners - including 18 aces - and 19 unforced errors, advancing on his second match point.Ruud and Hurkacz traded early breaks, but the Norwegian gained the edge in the first set, winning it on another break of serve.
He then inflicted further punishment by breaking Hurkacz to love in the opening game of the second as he tried to set a tone for the remainder of the match.
But Hurkacz struck back with an immediate break and carried on to level the match at a set apiece.
Hurkacz got away quickly in the deciding set, grabbing a 4-1 lead with two quick breaks of serve before closing out the comeback triumph.
He avenged a loss to Ruud in the fourth round at Roland Garros two months ago.
Hurkacz has won his first five ATP finals and is keen to carry on with his string of victories.
HALEP TO FACE HADDAD MAIA
Simona Halep dug deep to beat Jessica Pegula 2-6 6-3 6-4 to punch her ticket to Sunday’s Canadian Open final where she will face Beatriz Haddad Maia after the Brazilian toppled Karolina Pliskova for her latest win over a marquee player.
Two-time tournament champion Halep got off to a sluggish start and the American took full advantage, wrapping up the 35-minute first set with an ace.
But a loose service game by Pegula early in the second set, capped by a unforced backhand error, gave the Romanian former world number one a 3-1 lead as frustration began to mount in her less experienced opponent.
In the third set, Halep broke at love for a 3-2 lead and hung on to claim her 37th victory of the year despite producing 10 double faults and putting fewer than 60 per cent of her first serves into play.
In the other semi-final, Haddad Maia broke the big-serving Czech to open the match and produced two excellent first serves to capture the first set.
Pliskova responded with more aggressive play in the second set, which resulted in a 5-2 lead but Haddad Maia weathered the storm and battled back to force a tiebreak.
In the breaker, Pliskova saved one match point but failed to convert her set point opportunity and double faulted to end the hard-fought affair.
The unseeded Haddad Maia has defeated local favorite Leylah Fernandez, world number one Iga Swiatek and Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Belinda Bencic en route to her first WTA 1000 event final.
Haddad Maia beat Halep in the semifinals of the Birmingham Classic earlier this year, a tournament she went on to win for her lone WTA title.
Published in Dawn, August 15th, 2022