Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Belgian Kirsten Flipkens on Friday saw their Rogers Cup run end after falling in a super tiebreaker in the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles.
Hsieh and Flipkens, seeded fourth in Toronto, fell to sixth seeds Victoria Azarenka of Belarus and Ashleigh Barty of Australia 4-6, 6-2, 10-5 in a match that lasted 75 minutes.
It was the first time Hsieh and Flipkens teamed up, as Hsieh’s regular doubles partner, Czech Barbora Strycova, is taking a break after winning the women’s doubles with Hsieh and reaching the singles semi-finals in Wimbledon last month.
Azarenka and Barty proved too much for the Taiwanese-Belgian duo when they started showing the same dominating form in the second set that took them past Julia Goerges of Germany and Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in the previous round.
In the singles, Serena Williams advanced to the semi-finals with a maiden victory over Naomi Osaka in their first meeting since last year’s US Open final.
The 6-3, 6-4 loss continued a run of poor form for Osaka, but there was some good news later in the day, when Pliskova lost to ensure that Osaka would replace Barty as world No. 1 next week.
Williams is next to face qualifier Marie Bouzkova, who advanced when Wimbledon champion and title defender Simona Halep retired from their match with a left Achilles problem.
There was no doubt about what was the big match of the day at the third-oldest tournament in tennis.
Unlike at Flushing Meadows last year, there were no fiery exchanges with the umpire, no smashed rackets, no point or game penalties — just a rock-solid performance from Williams.
There was a scary moment in the second set when the American ran into the net post while trying to chase down an Osaka drop shot, but, despite nursing her right arm, Williams confirmed that no serious damage had been done.
In earlier quarter-final action, Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu played through leg pain to keep her dream run alive with a 6-0, 2-6, 6-4 upset of Pliskova.
Andreescu looked to be in trouble when she gingerly returned to the court from a medical timeout late in the second set with her right thigh taped and movement hampered.
However, the 19-year-old went toe-to-toe with her more experienced opponent to win by serving out to love.
Up next for Andreescu is to be unseeded American Sofia Kenin, who extended her impressive Toronto run with a 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 win over Ukrainian former champion Elina Svitolina.
On the men’s side in Montreal, Daniil Medvedev and Karen Khachanov crushed second seed Dominic Thiem and third seed Alexander Zverev respectively to set up an all-Russian semi-final.
Later in the day, top seed Rafa Nadal overcame a sluggish start to defeat Fabio Fognini 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 to keep his title defense alive.
The Spaniard is to face either Gael Monfils or Roberto Bautista Agut, whose match was suspended.
The French-speaking Medvedev was cheered on by a partisan crowd and finished off a tired-looking Thiem 6-3, 6-1 to end the Austrian’s six-match winning streak in under an hour.
Medvedev said he was as surprised as anyone to have defeated the world No. 4 in such dominant fashion.
“I was expecting a tougher match,” Medvedev said. “I was happy that I was able to play so well, to beat him so easily. It saved me a lot of energy.”
Khachanov had little more problem with German Zverev, rattling through their quarter-final 6-3, 6-3 in 74 minutes.