American Tommy Paul ended top-ranked Carlos Alcaraz’s winning streak at 14 matches, beating the 20-year-old Spanish star 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 on Friday night to reach the National Bank Open semi-finals.
Alcaraz had the shot of the match with a between-the-leg winner in the second set, but couldn’t keep up with Paul in the third.
“I played a really good match. I really went after my shots,” Paul said. “You can’t start any points on your heels against him or he’ll take advantage of that. So you really have to go after your shots early in the rally and I was feeling really good on the first-strike tennis. That was the difference today.”
Alcaraz, the Wimbledon champion preparing for his US Open title defense, leads the tour with six victories and 49 match victories against only five losses.
“He’s really tough on every surface,” Alcaraz said. “I mean he’s a mix of everything. It makes him really, really tough.”
The 26-year-old Paul won in Stockholm in 2021 for his lone tour title. He also beat Alcaraz last year in Montreal in the tournament.
“It helps knowing that you can beat your opponent,” Paul said. “You never want to walk on the court and be like, ‘I don’t know if I can beat this guy’. It’s the attitude you’ve got to have no matter who you are playing.”
Paul will face the seventh-seeded Jannik Sinner of Italy, a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 winner over Gael Monfils of France in the late match.
In the afternoon, second-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia dropped out with a 7-6 (7), 7-5 loss to Australia’s Alex de Minaur.
“I had to play some of my best tennis today,” de Minaur said. “It has been a great week for me so far. I played the right way today. I think having played him at the end of last year gave me the confidence that I had a chance. I just had to play the right way and I am extremely proud of the effort and to still be alive.”
Medvedev, the 2021 champion in Toronto, had seven double-faults – the last on match point.
De Minaur will face Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in a battle of unseeded players in their first career Masters 1000 semifinal. In March, de Minaur beat Paul in the Acapulco final for his seventh career title.
Davidovich Fokina beat American Mackenzie McDonald 6-4, 6-2 in the opening quarter-final.