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Canada's Pospisil makes Rogers Cup semis after Davydenko retires

Vasek Pospisil of Canada celebrates his win as Nikolay Davydenko of Russia withdraws from their quarter-final match at the men's Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Montreal, August 9, 2013.


There were many ways to look at Vasek Pospisil's 20-minute verdict over Russia's Nikolai Davydenko in their Rogers Cup quarter-final match Friday, but maybe the best was this: Pospisil will get a chance to rest now, finally, after a long week, marching through a tough challenging field.

Pospisil held a 3-0 lead in the first set, at which point Davydenko called it quits, saying that he was suffering from bronchitis and couldn't continue.

"It came at a perfect time to have a bit of a rest," said Pospisil. "Even those three games, I was really trying to catch my breath.  I felt like I had a bit of sore legs, making me a little bit tired.  So it came at a great time."

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Pospisil revealed Friday that he'd also been granted a special exemption into next week's ATP Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati, and thus will unexpectedly be playing in the main draw there as well.

With the victory, Pospisil is also guaranteed the biggest pay day of his young career, $135,000.

"I had no idea how much I made until somebody told me in the TV booth," said Pospisil. "I was like, 'Oh, really?  Wow!' The money's nice, but it's not about that.  I set goals for myself.  I'm thinking bigger picture."

Pospisil will play in the semi-finals Saturday against the winner of the Milos Raonic-Ernests Gulbis match, which was scheduled to go on court at 2 p.m. Friday.

Pospisil also earns a minimum of 360 ATP ranking points, which should place him into the top-40 when the new rankings come out next Monday. Currently, Pospisil is No. 71 in the world with 696 ranking points.

"For me, top 50 was a lifelong goal of mine and dream," said Pospisil.  "It was the goal that I set at the beginning of this year, my perfect scenario if I ended the year top 50.  Here I am there already.  So my goals are already changing.  Every night I go to bed, I'm thinking, I want to do better and better.

"For sure, it's great.  I'll try to reset my goals a little bit and try to keep moving up."

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The last Canadian to advance to the semi-finals of this event was Mike Belkin back in 1969, or more than 20 years before Pospisil was born.

In all, it is a fabulously successful week for him and it will continue now for at least one more day. Pospisil defeated the world's sixth-ranked player Tomas Berdych to get here, but took advantage of how the draw opened up after Bogomolov knocked out No. 3 David Ferrer of Spain earlier in the tournament.

If Raonic happens to get through, it will guarantee at least one Canadian in Sunday's final.

Both players know each other pretty well, from coming through the junior ranks together to playing Davis Cup matches for Canada. Four years ago, in Toronto, they were paired together in doubles and knocked off the team of Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic in a first-round match. Nadal and Djokovic were scheduled to play their quarter-final matches later Friday, Nadal getting Marinko Matosevic, a wild-card entry, Djokovic the No. 7 seed Richard Gasquet.

Pospisil was asked: If he plays Raonic, who has the edge?

"Well, you got to give the edge to Milos, for sure.  I mean, I have the edge in terms of head to head.  But things have changed in the last two years.  He's improved a lot.  So he would obviously be the favorite, no doubt about that.  My run here doesn't change anything here in terms of that."

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The Rogers Cup has been known by other names over the years – previously, it was also the Players' Challenge – but it is the de facto Canadian Open, and it has been more than half a century since a Canadian won the men's event.

The tournament winner will make $547,300 in prize money, while the runner-up gets $268,350.

Pospisil's career earnings going into the event were $593,150. By contrast, Davydenko has won over $15-million.

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About the Author

Eric was the winner of the Hockey Hall Of Fame's Elmer Ferguson award for "distinguished contributions to hockey writing" in 2001. A graduate of the University of Western Ontario's grad school of journalism, he began covering hockey in 1978 and after spending 20 years covering the NHL and the Calgary Flames, joined The Globe in 2000. More


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