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Montreal: August 3, 2024 - August 12, 2024
Toronto: August 4, 2024 - August 12, 2024
Montreal : August 3 - 12, 2024
Toronto : August 4 - 12, 2024
NBO Results

Paul Stuns Alcaraz in Canada for the Second Straight Year

A year after upsetting him in the second round in Montreal, 12th-seeded American Tommy Paul ended the 14-match winning streak of World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz on Friday evening, defeating the recent Wimbledon champion 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to advance to his first ATP Masters 1000 semifinal at the National Bank Open presented by Rogers.

Having lost to Alcaraz earlier this year in Miami, Paul, who breezed past compatriot Marcos Giron on Thursday night after surviving three-set tussles with Diego Schwartzman and Francisco Cerundolo in his first two rounds, knew he needed to take the initiative against the top seed. After taking advantage of a slow start from his opponent to break serve in the first game, Paul did well to consolidate his lead, maintaining a first-serve percentage of 77 per cent in the opening set.

The American used his all-court game to take time away and draw errors from Alcaraz, who sprayed another forehand to go down a double break. Although he was able to recover one of those breaks, the Spaniard couldn’t find his rhythm on serve, double-faulting on set point — much like he did on the first point of the match — to hand over the opener on a silver platter.

Alcaraz continued to take big cuts at the ball, but with Paul’s flat, piercing forehands keeping him on the defensive, the two-time Grand Slam champion found himself struggling to find the court in his return games, even venting his frustration to his team courtside. The momentum shifted, however, after Alcaraz hit a tweener passing shot to hold for 3-all, bringing the lively Toronto crowd to their feet. From 2-3 down, the Spanish superstar won 10 points in a row to earn a decisive break and saved three break points at 4-3 en route to forcing a final set.

Read also: Alex de Minaur Shows Heart to Grind Past Medvedev in Toronto

Paul, to his credit, found a way to reset between sets, saving a break point in the first game of the decider and going on to earn a crucial break in the sixth game after Alcaraz netted a drop volley. Despite some notable resistance from his opposition, the American was able to hold his nerve to serve out his first win over a World No. 1.

Paul won 21 of his 23 net points in the two-hour, 20-minute encounter — a statistic that even caught him by surprise. “It's a pretty good stat … and one of those points was his tweener winner,” he said with a smile during his post-match press conference.

“I wasn't really thinking about coming in too much. I'm always trying to come into the net, trying to get up there, play aggressive tennis, but kind of just letting it happen,” said the World No. 14, who is projected to move up to No. 12 in the live rankings. “After the second, I saw my first serve percentage was super low in the second set. So that was my main goal going into the third — and making more returns, making him earn his service games. … Anytime I saw a ball in my strike zone, [I wanted to] really get after it and try to be on offence in the points.”

Read also: Monfils Recapturing His Canadian Magic

Paul, who reached his first Grand Slam semifinal earlier this year at the Australian Open, will now face No. 7 seed Jannik Sinner, who edged out former World No. 6 Gael Monfils in a late-night, three-set thriller. Paul and Sinner have split their first two meetings; while the Italian won their first match in three sets in Madrid last year, the American got his revenge a month later on the grass of Eastbourne.