TORONTO: South African Kevin Anderson stands between Australian Bernard Tomic and the quarter-finals of the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
Tomic marched into the third round the tournament on Wednesday (Thursday AEST) when he saw off local favourite Steven Diez 6-3 7-6 (7-4) in the pair’s first meeting.
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The 12th-seeded Tomic was forced to battle against the hard-working world No.192 in the key lead-up tournament to next month’s US Open.
In comparison, Anderson had an easy path through to the third round when Austrian Dominic Thiem retired midway through the third set with a hip injury.
Meanwhile Novak Djokovic opened his North American hardcourt campaign with a 7-5 7-6 (7-3) victory over Luxembourg’s Gilles Mueller.
Djokovic, playing his first match since his shock third-round Wimbledon loss to American Sam Querrey, won 73 per cent of his service points and wrapped up the win in one hour and 43 minutes.
The Serbian world No.1, a three-times winner of the Canadian Masters event, will next play Czech qualifier Radek Stepanek, a 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 winner over Canadian wildcard Peter Polansky.
“It’s tough playing the first hardcourt match since March,” Djokovic said.
“It was hot and that made the ball move very fast.
“It was hard to control, it was not easy to play. But I managed to stay tough.”
Querrey, whose Wimbledon run came to an end with a quarter-finals loss to eventual runner-up Milos Raonic, could not pen a similar script as he retired from his second-round clash with Belgian seventh seed David Goffin while trailing 6-4 2-1.
Japanese third seed Kei Nishikori beat American qualifier Dennis Novikov 6-4 7-5, ninth seed John Isner fell 7-6 (7-3) 6-7 (7-4) 6-4 to American Ryan Harrison and Canadian fourth seed Raonic beat Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun 6-3 6-3.
For Raonic, who grew up in a Toronto suburb, the match was his first since losing the Wimbledon final to Britain’s Andy Murray and he soaked up the warm reception from fans.
“I don’t get to play here in Toronto very much,” Raonic said. “I can’t wait to come back out here tomorrow.”