MONTREAL— Wimbledon tennis champion Andy Murray slumped to a shock 6-4, 6-3 to Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis in the Montreal Masters on Thursday as Rafael Nadal subdued Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz 7-6 (8/6), 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals.
Murray, who had won all five previous meetings with the colourful Gulbis, saw his 13-match winning streak ended.
The world No 2 now heads to Cincinnati for a final chance to tune his hardcourt form ahead of his US Open title defence starting in New York on August 26.
Gulbis went through in less than 90 minutes with three breaks of Murray, twice a champion in Canada.
Gulbis, ranked 38 in the world, reached his third career quarter-final at the Masters 1000 level, but first since Madrid in 2010 where he lost to Roger Federer.
“I struggled at the start of the first set from the baseline, but then I got more aggressive and took my opportunities,” said Gulbis, who next faces either Juan Martin del Potro or Milos Raonic.
“I started this year at 150 in the world, I was struggling. But slowly and surely I am getting to where I belong.
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“I want to crack the top 20. Then, one or two big wins and you are in the top 10.”
Fourth seed Nadal, playing his first event in seven weeks since losing in the first round at Wimbledon to Belgian Steve Darcis, needed one and three-quarter hours to see off Polish 15th seed Janowicz, a Wimbledon semi-finalist.
Top-seed Serena Williams avenged her older sister’s defeat by Kirsten Flipkens with a 6-0 6-3 pounding of the Belgian to move into the quarter-finals of the Rogers Cup in Toronto on Thursday.
Flipkens put down Venus Williams in three sets in the first round as Serena watched from the stands, but the 13th seed struggled for rhythm in the face of the 31-year-old’s monster serve and fierce returning.
“I definitely thought about Venus, and I thought what a good comeback Kirsten had, so I thought, ‘I’m not going to get overconfident,” Williams, who next faces Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova, told reporters.
“She’s obviously a really good player, so I was just trying to stay focused as well as intense.”
Suprise Wimbledon champion and seventh seed Marion Bartoli suffered a blow before the US Open, retiring when trailing 7-6 1-0 to Rybarikova.
Bartoli said she felt pain while serving and hitting backhands and thought she had suffered an abdominal injury to her right side.
“It took me so much energy to win my first grand slam that at some point I will have a kind of low, and it’s normal,” she said.
It was smooth sailing for most of the seeds, however, with Pole Agnieszka Radwanska and China’s Li Na advancing, but tempers frayed during fifth seed Sara Errani’s tight 7-5, 7-6 defeat of Frenchwoman Alize Cornet.
Italian Errani took exception to her opponent encouraging herself in Spanish rather than French and let Cornet know about it.
“I just said to her, ‘why are you saying vamos and not allez?” Errani said. “Normally she says allez, so I thought, why you say vamos?”
Defending champion and sixth seed Petra Kvitova also moved ahead with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Carlsbad Open champion Samantha Stosur. She will face Cirstea in the quarterfinals.