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Hurkacz weathers Aussie storm

Over the last two months, Nick has been playing incredibly.

MONTREAL, Canada (AFP) — Hubert Hurkacz overcame 53 winners from Nick Kyrgios to halt the Australian’s nine-match win streak with a three-set quarter-final victory on Friday at the ATP Montreal Masters.

The Polish eighth seed managed 43 winners of his own in a rapid-fire 7-6(7/4), 6-7(5/7), 6-1 triumph that put him into his fourth semifinal at the Masters level.

Hurkacz will next face Norway’s fourth-seeded Casper Ruud, who crushed home-nation player Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-1, 6-2, in 74 minutes.

Ruud will play his third Masters semifinal this season on Saturday, having defeated Hurkacz in their previous meeting in May at Roland Garros.

Hurkacz has won both of his matches with Kyrgios, with the first played on grass in June at Halle, Germany.

Kyrgios, known for quick play, had several service games go by in less than one minute, with the Wimbledon finalist barely pausing between the end of one point and the start of the next.

Wimbledon runner-up Kyrgios, who won his first title in three years last week in Washington, was bothered at times by his foot, lower back and hip as he lost momentum in the third set.

“I was just just running on fumes a bit towards the end,” the 27-year-old Aussie said. “That’s normal.”

“But I feel good, feel confident. I’ve got three or four days of rest until Cincinnati. I’m going to use that, really capitalize and just rest and recover.”

The pair combined for 39 aces, with Hurkacz striking 20 of them.

“Over the last two months, Nick has been playing incredibly,” Hurkacz said.

“Today was a really tough match. Battling against him, it’s very challenging, but it’s also fun.”

“Nick is a super opponent. He can make every single shot. He doesn’t really have that many weaknesses, if any. I was just trying to serve good and stay aggressive.”

Hurzacz, a 2021 quarterfinalist in Canada, won his 31st match of the season.

Ruud, who struck only nine unforced errors, was pleasantly surprised at his domination of Montreal’s Auger-Aliassime.

“It was one of those days where everything was in my favor,” he said. “I had a troubling start when I was broken to zero.”

“But I turned it around. I made him play a lot of shots. Maybe playing at home was a factor for him.”

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