Dan Evans’ impressive run at the National Bank Open has been halted by Pablo Carreno Busta, who defeated the Briton in three sets in Montreal.
The world No 39 became the first player at the tournament to take a set off the Spaniard, racing out to a 3-0 lead in the second set which he eventually won after having to save match point.
The British No 2 was eventually outlasted 7-5 6-7 6-2 across two hours and 58 minutes by Carreno Busta, with the pair appearing exhausted as they embraced at the net as the match ended.
The 23rd-ranked Carreno Busta relied on his first serve to dominate his opponent, recording 43 winners and breaking on five of his eight chances.
The victory pushes the Spaniard through to his first ATP Masters final, which will be against eighth-seeded Hubert Hurkacz after the Pole earlier dropped his first set before fighting back to defeat Casper Ruud 5-7 6-3 6-2.
Hurkacz has come out on the winning side in five of his six career finals appearances. “I was fortunate to win the first few finals. But this is going to be a new match. It’s going to be a very tricky one and tough one,” he said.
Evans’ strong recent showings should see him surge up the rankings to the edge of the top 20, with those ranked 32 and higher seeded for the upcoming US Open.
The 32-year-old will next play Filip Krajinovic in the first round of the Western and Southern Open, the final warm-up tournament before Flushing Meadows.
Halep sets up final showdown with Haddad Maia
Simona Halep dug deep to beat Jessica Pegula 2-6 6-3 6-4 to punch her ticket to Sunday’s Canadian Open final where she will face Beatriz Haddad Maia after the Brazilian toppled 14th-seed Karolina Pliskova 6-4 7-6 (9-7) for her latest win over a marquee player.
Two-time tournament champion Halep got off to a sluggish start and American Pegula took full advantage, wrapping up the 35-minute first set with an ace.
But a loose service game by Pegula early in the second set, capped by a unforced backhand error, gave the Romanian former world No 1 a 3-1 lead as frustration built in her less-experienced opponent.
In the third set, Halep broke at love for a 3-2 lead and hung on to claim her 37th victory of the year despite producing 10 double faults and putting fewer than 60 per cent of her first serves into play.
With the win, Halep will re-enter the top 10 for the first time in almost a year when the new rankings are released on Monday.
“The fire is back,” Halep said when asked about moments in the match where she appeared poised to take out her frustration on her racket.
“It’s a good sign if I do that… it helps me sometimes. I don’t know always if it’s good or not. But it helps me.”
Halep, who saved 12 of 17 break point chances, said she got a boost in the match’s biggest moments from the vocal support of the fans in Toronto.
“It felt like I was in Romania today,” she said. “They sent a lot of energy. In the tough moments they really pushed me. So I would like to thank them for that. And I’m waiting for them, actually, tomorrow.”
The unseeded Haddad Maia has defeated local favourite Leylah Fernandez, world No 1 Iga Swiatek and Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Belinda Bencic en route to her first WTA 1000 event final.
Haddad Maia beat Halep in the semi-finals of the Birmingham Classic earlier this year, a tournament she went on to win for her lone WTA title.