TORONTO • Greek teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas is making a habit of upsetting the odds, after securing the biggest win of his career when he sent Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic packing in the third round of the Toronto Masters with a stunning 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3 victory on Thursday.
It was his second win over a seeded player in as many days. Tsitsipas, who turns 20 tomorrow, followed up his defeat of seventh seed Dominic Thiem of Austria by beating four-time champion and ninth seed Djokovic in their first meeting.
"This was the best match of my career," the 1.93m Tsitsipas said in his post-match interview. "I knew I was playing pretty good today. Losing the second set, it was tough to deal with. I had my opportunities and didn't use them.
"But I remained calm, I tried few things that I didn't try before. (The early break in the third set) was everything. It gave me the win at the end."
"It's a dream of any kid out there in this world, any kid who's playing tennis, to beat these kinds of players so I can call it the best moment of my life. I never expected to beat such a top-ranked player and such a highly respected player like Novak."
Tsitsipas, ranked 27th in the world, spent just over two hours in advancing to the first Masters 1000 quarter-final of his career.
"He played very well and deserved to win without a doubt," admitted Djokovic, who was competing in his first tournament since winning Wimbledon. "I just played not that great. I didn't return well. It wasn't that great a match."
For Tsitsipas, who arrived in Toronto fresh off a run to the semi-finals in Washington where he lost to German world No. 3 Alexander Zverev, the win is the latest in a breakthrough campaign where he has reached the quarter-finals or better at seven ATP Tour events.
Upset scenarios were, however, not in the plan of defending champion and second seed Zverev, who rolled over Russian Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-2 while never facing a break point, to set up a quarter-final clash with Tsitsipas.
Top seed and world No. 1 Rafael Nadal of Spain battled past Swiss wild card Stan Wawrinka 7-5, 7-6 (4) and will next meet Croat Marin Cilic, who took down Argentinian Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-2, for a place in the final four.
In Montreal, world No. 1 Simona Halep crushed seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams in straight sets on Thursday at the WTA event just hours after delivering a three-hour victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
The top-seeded Romanian took no prisoners against her American opponent, blitzing Williams 6-2, 6-2 in just 71 minutes to reach the quarter-finals.
Halep needed three gruelling sets to oust Russia's world No. 28, but had a much easier time against the veteran Williams, who has yet to win a title this year.
"It's never easy to play either of the Williams sisters and even though she was struggling, I knew I had to stay focused," the French Open champion said.
"She wasn't feeling great on the court and it definitely wasn't her best day. And I'm happy to be the quarter-finals now."
Halep next faces sixth seed Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia today, who overwhelmed former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova of Russia 6-3, 6-2.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS
Semi-finals: StarHub Ch201, tomorrow, 3am