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Rogers Cup 2019, Quarterfinal Preview: Nadal seeks revenge against Fognini, Zverev faces Khachanov in battle of young guns

Nadal takes the win in all lefty-third round encounter with Pella in Montreal
Nadal takes the win in all lefty-third round encounter with Pella in Montreal
ANALYST
Modified 09 Aug 2019
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The sixth Masters 1000 tournament of the ATP calendar, the 2019 Coupe Rogers in Montreal, has reached the last eight stage.

In a strong testament of the rude health of the men's game, six of the top eight seeds (five top ten players) led by top seed and defending champion Rafael Nadal have reached the quarterfinals.

Nadal's third-round triumph over Guido Pella gave the Spaniard the outright lead for most Masters 1000 match wins (379), breaking a tie with Federer. In the quarterfinals, Nadal would look to avenge a Monte Carlo exit against Italian Fabio Fognini.

Roberto Bautista Agut is the second Spaniard in the Montreal quarterfinals, having beaten Richard Gasquet in the third round to book a last-eight clash with another Frenchman, Gael Monfils. A win for Bautista Agut will put the Spaniard in contention for a top ten debut next week.

In the bottom half of the draw, second seed Dominic Thiem, fresh off a first title at his hometown Kitzbuhel, but winless in five editions of the Coupe Rogers, registered two wins on the trot to move into the last eight where he'll be up against Washington finalist Daniil Medvedev.

Completing the last eight draw in Montreal is third seed Alexander Zverev who will take on Karen Khachanov in a battle of the young guns.

Of the eight players left in the competition, Nadal (2005, 2008, 2013, 2018) and Zverev (2017) are the only former champions.

Nadal (34) and Zverev (2) are also the only multiple Masters 1000 champions left in the draw. Khachanov, Thiem and Fognini have a lone Masters 1000 title apiece.

Monfils and Bautista Agut have reached a Masters 1000 final thrice and once respectively while Medvedev has never reached the title round of a Masters 1000 event.

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Here's looking at each of the four quarterfinals in further detail.

Quarterfinal #1: (1) Rafael Nadal vs (7) Fabio Fognini

Nadal celebrates his 3rd round win over Pella
Nadal celebrates his 3rd round win over Pella

In the Montreal third round, Nadal conquered fellow lefty Guido Pella of Argentina to move within three wins of a first successful hard-court title defence. The Spaniard, playing his first tournament following a Wimbledon semifinal loss to Federer, looked rusty at times but completed his second straight-set win in the tournament to romp into the last eight.

Nadal needs to reach the Montreal final to stay world no. 2, but in his way lies the unpredictable Fognini who conquered the Spaniard in the Monte Carlo semifinals earlier in the season en route to a first career Masters 1000 title.

In the pair's only other meeting in North America, Fognini had a memorable third-round win at the 2015 US Open over the Spaniard, clawing back a two-set deficit to hand Nadal his earliest exit in 14 years at the last Grand Slam tournament of the year.

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Fognini is all smiles after reaching the 2019 Montreal quarterfinals
Fognini is all smiles after reaching the 2019 Montreal quarterfinals

Trailing 4-11 in his head to head against Nadal, can Fognini inflict consecutive defeats on the Spaniard and go on to win a 2nd Masters 1000 singles title?

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Published 09 Aug 2019, 16:37 IST
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