After all of the emotions of Wednesday night, the on-court action reclaimed the spotlight on Thursday at the National Bank Open in Toronto.
The day started with another three-set thriller to set up a blockbuster quarter-final between one of the games’ most promising stars and the only person left in the draw who has won multiple titles in Canada.
Catch up with all the goings on at Sobeys Stadium on Thursday.
Facing tough conditions on Centre Court and a hard-hitting opponent, world No. 1 Iga Świątek saw her winning streak on hard courts that dated back to February snapped as she was upset by Beatriz Haddad Maia.
The top seed struggled with the extremely wind, while the Brazilian powerful strokes did a good job of breaking Świątek down. An inability to find her rhythm ultimately cost the world No. 1 who fell 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.
Haddad Maia will meet No. 12 seed Belinda Bencic in the quarter-finals, who beat No. 8 seed Garbine Muguruza in the final match of the day.
There are no longer any Canadians left in singles at their home WTA 1000 event after Bianca Andreescu was defeated in three sets by Zheng Qinwen.
Andreescu had her eight-match winning streak in Toronto snapped, dating back to her title run in 2019. The Canadian was unable to take advantage of several breaks of serve in the first set and ultimately was unable to mount a comeback as Zheng advanved to her first WTA 1000 quarter-final with a 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 win.
Zheng will meet Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals.
Pliskova narrowly hung on to eliminate the final Top 5 player left in the draw, needing six match points to put away world No. 3 Maria Sakkari in three sets. The Czech served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, had three match points in the second set tiebreak, served for the match again at 5-2 in the third set before finally closing out a 6-1, 6-7(9), 6-3 win.
Simona Halep’s bid to become the first woman in the 21st century to win titles in both Toronto and Montreal remains on track after the Romanian defeated Jil Teichmann in straight sets on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals.
The 15th seed raced out of the gate with an early break and never looked back, advancing with a 6-2, 7-5 victory.
Both of Halep’s previous titles in Canada were in Montreal. The closest she came to the trophy in Toronto was in 2015 when she retired in the third set of the final against Belinda Bencic.
For the second day in a row, play began on the National Bank Grandstand with a bang. And for the second day in a row it was Coco Gauff walking off court victorious.
On Wednesday, she defeated Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in a three-set thriller. Thursday, her victim was sixth seed Aryna Sabalenka.
It was not all smooth sailing for Gauff, who led by a set, 4-2, triple break point to serve for the match before Sabalenka found another gear to extend the match,
The sixth seed then scored an early break of her own in the third set, but this time it was Gauff’s turn to mount a comeback as she rallied back to 3-all. Playing a third-set tiebreak for the second day in a row, the American never trailed as she closed out another three-set to reach her second WTA 1000 quarter-final of the season and second in a row in Canada.
Gauff and Halep will meet in the quarter-finals.
Camila Giorgi’s title defence came to an end on Thursday. The Italian was beaten in three sets by seventh seed Jessica Pegula, ending here eight-match winning streak in Canada.
Pegula rallied from a set down and a break in the third set, even saving a match point at 4-5, 40-AD on her own serve, winning the last three games to reach the quarter-finals, where she will meet Yulia Putintseva. The Kazakh defeated Alison Riske-Amritraj in straight sets.
VIRAL MOMENT ON SOCIAL
In women’s tennis, the average first serve speed is around 160 km/h.
Coco Gauff is 18 years old and probably still has some muscle development ahead of her to help her increase her serve speed.
Good luck to the rest of the WTA tour if that happens.
How accurate is your serve? And how well do you handle pressure?
Between matches during Thursday’s day session on Centre Court, some fans had a chance to show off their serve with an accuracy contest.
Fans could win a prize depending on which target they hit. But you would definitely want your serve to be good since several thousand fans were watching!
Of course, for those not interested in putting their serve on display publicly, the 407 ETR fast serve cage remains a popular attraction on the grounds.