Defending champ Nadal advances to Rogers Cup quarterfinals

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MONTREAL — Top-seeded defending champion Rafael Nadal advanced to the Rogers Cup quarterfinals, beating Argentina’s Guido Pella 6-3, 6-4 on Thursday night.

The 33-year-old Spanish star, a four-time Rogers Cup champion, will face seventh-seeded Fabio Fognini of Italy. Fognini beat France’s Adrian Mannarino 6-2, 7-5.

Nadal won the event last year in Toronto. He has 82 career singles victories, winning the French Open in June for his second title of the year.

Sixth-seeded Karen Khachanov of Russia beat Montreal teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-7 (7), 7-5, 6-3 in the afternoon at windy and raucous IGA Stadium.

Celebrating his 19th birthday, Auger-Aliassime was undone by 12 double faults and a series of mistakes. After the match, the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to Auger-Aliassime, while a video featuring fellow pros also passing on their greetings played on the big screens.

“For sure frustrated because it was a big occasion,” he said. “There was a lot of expectations, pressure, you name it. It’s tough to see it slip away, but there’s reason for that. It just means that I still have things to improve to win these type of matches and to deal better with these type of moments.”

Khachanov set up a quarterfinal match against third-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany, a 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (5) winner over Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Tied 7-7 in the tiebreaker, Khachanov sent a shot into the net on serve and then fired another ball over the second deck and out of the venue in frustration at the crowd cheering his mistakes, which led to loud boos.

“I cannot deny that I got a little bit crazy,” Khachanov said. “But I’m really a bit disappointed … with the crowd as well. I don’t have anything against when they cheer for Felix. It’s normal. He’s the home favorite, especially from Montreal. I wish they could cheer the same way in Russia for me. But still, not when I miss or not wishing me to miss, screaming during the points. It’s disrespectful.”

Second-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria beat Marin Cilic of Croatoa 7-6 (7), 6-4. Coming off a victory on clay in Austria for his third title of the year, Thiem will face eighth-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia, a 6-3, 6-3 winner over Cristian Garin of Chile.