PHUKET: Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga handed world number one Novak Djokovic a 6-2 6-2 third round defeat on Thursday as the Rogers Cup was rocked by upsets.
A day of high-drama began under a bright morning sun with South African Kevin Anderson startling third seeded Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (8) 7-5 and ended in the late evening chill with 17-time grand slam winner Roger Federer out-lasting big hitting Croatian Marin Cilic 7-6 (5) 6-7 (3) 6-4.
Federer began the nearly three hour marathon on Thursday as a 32-year-old before leaving the Rexall Tennis Centre having turned 33 and the only one of the top seeds to survive a day of upsets that included Wimbledon champion Djokovic.
“It is nice winning those kind of matches, I’ve also lost a bunch in my career especially this season,” said Federer, who had looked poised to join the exodus of seeds after squandering six match points in the second set.
“I had 23 break points against Tsonga in Monaco, that’s worse. So from that standpoint I’ve been there before.
“All six match points were on my own serve and it wasn’t like I didn’t have a chance so that was good in a way but also frustrating.
“But you keep going.”
Fourth seeded Czech Tomas Berdych also had his Canadian visit come to an end with a 3-6 6-3 6-4 loss to veteran Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.
French 12th seed Richard Gasquet was also a third round casualty, forced out of the tournament with abdominal pain, giving twice Canadian champion Andy Murray direct passage into the quarter-finals.
Sixth seed Milos Raonic, the last Canadian standing, kept hopes of a home grown winner alive riding the support of a boisterous crowd to a 6-3 4-6 6-4 victory over Frenchman Julien Benneteau.
A three-time winner on the Canadian hard courts, the Serb had reached the semi-finals or better in all seven tournaments he had played since a quarter-final loss at the Australian Open, winning titles at Indian Wells, Miami, Rome and Wimbledon where he reclaimed the top ranking.
Djokovic, playing his first tournament since getting married, however never found his rhythm in Toronto needing a third set tie-break to get past Frenchman Gael Monfils on Wednesday in his opening match before being thumped by Tsonga.
“I haven’t played even close to what I intended before going to the court,” said Djokovic. “No baseline, no serve, no return.
“Just generally very bad day, very poor performance. Couldn’t do much.”
While Djokovic will move onto Cincinnati to prepare for next week’s event and continue his buildup to the U.S. Open, Tsonga moves into the final eight and meeting with Murray.
Tsonga’s win over Djokovic marked the third time he has beaten a world number one but was also the first time in their last 12 meetings the 13th-seeded Frenchman had gotten the better of the Serb.
“We grew up together on the tour, we had many good years,” said Tsonga, who is now 6-14 lifetime against Djokovic. “When you play against him you know it’s going to be difficult.
“Even if the score today seemed easy, it’s never easy against him.”
Anderson, who ended the Wawrinka’s 13-match win streak with a fourth round victory earlier this season at Indian Wells, will next meet Bulgarian seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov, who beat Spain’s Tommy Robredo 7-5 5-7 6-4.
Fifth seed David Ferrer also moved on with a 1-6 6-3 6-3 win over Croatia’s Ivan Dodig and will face Federer in the quarter-finals.