So far the semi-final round in Toronto’s Rogers Cup is booking up with some intriguing players outside the ATP’s Top 5.
A day after knocking off World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga eliminated World No. 9, Andy Murray, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 to book the first spot. The 15th-ranked Frenchman will face Grigor Dmitrov on Saturday, the World No. 8 who knocked off upset-minded South African Kevin Anderson, 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (6).
Bulgaria’s Dimitrov, 23, is better known as Baby Fed for his comparison to a young Federer. Tsonga, 29, is also among the crop of powerful players who have been crushing outside the Top 5 for some time, challenging for tournament titles.
The other two semi-finalists are to be determined tonight.
Canada’s Milos Raonic will play his quarterfinal match versus World No. 25 Feliciano Lopez. The World No. 6 has a 2-1 record in matches versus the 32-year-old Spaniard. The Canadian won the last two, both on hard-courts in 2013, while Lopez took their first-ever meeting back in 2011 on clay.
The two players are friends, dating back to Raonic’s training stint with former coach Galo Blanco in Barcelona. During that time, Raonic would often practice with numerous Spanish players.
Raonic beat American Jack Sock and Frenchman Julien Benneteau the last two nights, both lengthy three-set matches. The left-handed Lopez upset World No. 4 Tomas Berdych Thursday night to set up the meeting with Raonic.
“Obviously as a lefty, things are going to change a little bit with the angles,” said Raonic. “I have been able to find answers in the past against him, so just gonna have that same approach. I feel like I have improved since the last time I played him.”
The winner of that match will face the player who takes the late match Friday between tournament No. 2 seed Roger Federer and another Spaniard, fourth-seeded David Ferrer.
Should Federer and Raonic both advance, they would meet on Saturday for the first time since the Swiss knocked off the Canadian at Wimbledon.