Rafael Nadal is an absolute ‘beast’
RAFAEL Nadal recovered from a slow start, overcoming Marin Cilic 2-6 6-4 6-4 as the Spaniard's chase for a long-sought ATP Masters title on hardcourt heated up on Saturday.
The World No. 1 reached the semi-finals in Toronto and will next face Russian Karen Khachanov, who beat Robin Haase 6-3 6-1.
Nadal last won a title at this level on cement in 2013.
"It was a very important match for me," Nadal said. "Being in semi-finals is great news at the start of the hardcourt season.
"And winning three good matches in the first Masters 1000, it's so important for me.
"He (Cilic) played unstoppable in the first set. I resisted, I played with the right tactic. I tried to find my solutions - but it was so difficult."
Cilic did it easy in the first set as he personified pure aggression to take it to Nadal. He struck 17 winners and won the battle of the baseline against the noted slugger as the Spaniard struggled to keep pace with his opponent.
But he isn't the world's top ranked player for nothing and life only got harder for Cilic once he stepped on court to begin the second set. Up 5-4, he broke to take the set and square things up before taking the third with the same scoreline.
It was just the fifth defeat Cilic has suffered this year after winning the opening set of a match.
The Greek teenager, who turns 20 on Sunday's final day, defeated his third straight top 10 opponent at the tournament after knocking out Dominic Thiem in the second round and 13-time major winner Novak Djokovic in the third.
Tsitsipas is the youngest player to post three top 10 wins at a single tournament since the 19-year-old Nadal at Monte Carlo in 2006.
Tsitsipas will next face Wimbledon runner-up Kevin Anderson, who beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-2 6-2.
"I'm confused now, is this real?" 27th-ranked Tsitsipas said after completing his prestige hat-trick of upsets.
Tsitsipas rallied from a set and 5-2 down to turn the tables on Zverev, who had been bidding for a fourth Masters 1000 title.
Tsitsipas broke in the ninth game of the second on the way into a tiebreaker, where he calmly converted on his fifth set point after saving two match points for the second-seeded Zverev.
Tsitsipas then salvaged four break points for 2-1 in the third, he traded breaks with the German and saved another trio of break points for a 5-4 lead.
He completed the victory after nearly two and a half hours on Zverev's sixth double-fault.
"This shows that with dedication and work, dreams do come true," Tsitsipas said. "I can see that it's real - it's happening.
"I don't know what happened (in the second set), I just broke him (for 4-5). All along I could feel the crowd support, I knew I was still in the match."