Things looked encouraging early on for Felix Auger-Aliassime, but then Casper Ruud shifted gears—and the Norwegian ended up blowing past the home favorite, 6-1, 6-2, to move through to the semifinals of the National Bank Open in Montreal.

Ruud is now into his third Masters 1000 semifinal of the year, and the sixth of his career.

“I like to think that sometimes when you’re in the zone, you tend to say that the tennis ball feels like a soccer ball in a way, if that makes sense,” Ruud said. “The ball just feels very big. You feel like you can do anything, and everything just goes your way.

“This was just one of those few days. It’s not often that it happens, so I’m very glad that it did today, because Felix is a great player.”

Auger-Aliassime actually broke Ruud at love in the very first game of the match, but from there it was one-way traffic as Ruud broke right back and ended up reeling off the next 10 games in a row to build a 6-1, 4-0 lead, and the two held serve from there until it was all over, with Ruud swiftly serving the match out a few games later.

The Canadian finished with 19 winners to 25 unforced errors.

“It was not the best start for me, I got broken right away, but then something clicked and I turned everything around. So it was just one of those days,” Ruud said.

“The margins were on my side.”

Ruud’s best result at a Masters 1000 is reaching the final of Miami this year. There, he beat Francisco Cerundolo in the semis before falling to Carlos Alcaraz in the final.

Currently ranked No. 7, the Norwegian will return to his career-high of No. 5 no matter what happens the rest of the way in Montreal, but if he reaches the final he’ll pass current No. 5 Alcaraz to set a new career-high of No. 4 on the ATP rankings on Monday.

Ruud is now on a seven-match winning streak, having gone 4-0 to win a clay-court title in Gstaad a few weeks ago, and now 3-0 so far in Montreal.

Ruud is now on a seven-match winning streak, having gone 4-0 to win a clay-court title in Gstaad a few weeks ago, and now 3-0 so far in Montreal.


Standing between Ruud and a new career-high (and the final) will be Hubert Hurkacz, who ended the nine-match winning streak of Nick Kyrgios in the first quarterfinal of the day, outlasting the visibly struggling Australian in the decider, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (5), 6-1.

After splitting the first two sets without a break of serve, Hurkacz got the first break in the 26th service game of the match for 2-0 in the third and had few problems from there.

“Nick was maybe a little bit injured, which might have hurt his serve," Hurkacz told "With both of us serving so well, that few percent can make the difference.”

Hurkacz is now through to the fourth Masters 1000 semifinal of his career. His best result at a Masters 1000 event is winning the title in Miami in 2021.

Ruud beat Hurkacz in the pair’s only previous career meeting, 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, in the fourth round of Roland Garros on clay earlier this year.