Andy Murray’s chances of claiming the title for a third time rose significantly on a day of surprises at the Toronto Masters. While the Scot was handed a place in the quarter-finals after his third-round opponent, Richard Gasquet, withdrew with an abdominal strain, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka, the two highest seeds in Murray’s half of the draw, both suffered unexpected defeats.
Djokovic, who had looked out of sorts in his opening match against Gaël Monfils, was beaten 6-2, 6-2 by France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who now meets Murray. Djokovic had previously beaten Tsonga 11 times in a row and had not dropped a set against the Frenchman in their seven previous meetings.
Playing his first tournament since his marriage to Jelena Ristic, his long-time girlfriend, Djokovic looked a pale imitation of the man who had reached the semi-finals or better of every event he had played since the Australian Open in January. The Wimbledon champion, who reclaimed the world No 1 ranking with his victory over Roger Federer at the All England Club, was in trouble from the start and lost in just 63 minutes.
Wawrinka meanwhile was beaten 7-6, 7-5 by South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, who had also ended the Australian Open champion’s 13-match unbeaten start to the season in Indian Wells. Wawrinka did not appear too concerned by the defeat. “In general, I’m feeling great,” he said. “I’m feeling physically good. I’m moving well. I’m playing well. It’s just that I need more matches to be really at the top.”
Murray, who had looked in excellent shape in his opening victory over Australian Nick Kyrgios, has won all eight of his matches against Tsonga since the Frenchman beat him in the first round of the Australian Open six years ago.
Tsonga had been a permanent member of the world’s top 10 for two years until last November. He fell to No 17 earlier this summer but recovered some lost ground with his run to the fourth round at Wimbledon. He is currently world No 15.
Murray, who has not won a title since his victory at Wimbledon 13 months ago, had won only two matches in his last three visits to Canada, but before that he enjoyed an excellent record at the tournament. The world No 9 won the title in 2009 and again in 2010.
The highest-ranked player left in Murray’s half of the draw is Grigor Dimitrov, the man who beat him in the Wimbledon quarter-finals. The Bulgarian, who now faces Anderson, reached the last eight with a 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 victory over Spain’s Tommy Robredo.
Shelby Rogers, who shocked the Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard in the second round in Montreal, was crushed 6-1, 6-0 by Caroline Wozniacki. Britain’s Heather Watson, having beaten Dominika Cibulkova in the second round, meets Victoria Azarenka in the third round.