Earlier this season, Hubert Hurkacz saved five match points to topple Thanasi Kokkinakis in Miami. And in February, he staved off a match point against Mikael Ymer en route to lifting the Marseille crown.

On Thursday night in Toronto, Hurkacz came close to pulling off another comeback from the brink of elimination, this time against the world No. 1. In the end, Carlos Alcaraz survived seeing a double break lead and two match points evaporate in the final set to prevail, 3-6, 7-6 (2),7-6 (3).

Alcaraz first served for the match in the pair's decider at 5-2, the game where he twice reached match point at 40-30 and later ad-in. But after Hurkacz broke back and held, the Spaniard dropped serve at love the next time of asking.

"I started feeling bad at that moment. I couldn't feel the right way in my shots. I didn't know what happened," Alcaraz admitted to Mike Cation in a post-match interview. "But what I was thinking was to stay calm, try to find a way to overcome the problems and find the good feeling again. I think at 5-6 serving, I started to feel better."

Alcaraz has now reached the quarterfinals or better at 10 of the 11 events he's played in 2023.

Alcaraz has now reached the quarterfinals or better at 10 of the 11 events he's played in 2023.


In the tie-break, Alcaraz refocused to build a commanding 6-1 advantage. Though Hurkacz saved two more match points, this final deficit was ultimately too difficult a mountain to climb. The top seed closed out the win when the Pole’s forehand sailed long.

"The big players have that feeling to find a way to stay alive and try to end the match playing well," Alcaraz said. "In a tough moment, you have to believe in yourself. It doesn't matter if you win or not."

Alcaraz has won nine straight matches and improved to 49-4 on the year. He is bidding to capture his fifth ATP Masters 1000 title and third in 2023, following triumphs at Indian Wells and Madrid.

In the quarterfinals, the 20-year-old awaits Tommy Paul. The No. 12 seed cruised through an all-American battle by securing a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Marcos Giron. Last year, Paul ousted Alcaraz at the Montreal edition of the alternating Canadian event.

Gael Monfils continued his winning ways, defeating lucky loser Aleksander Vukic, 6-4, 6-4. In the draw on a protected ranking, Monfils fired nine aces and won 87 percent of his first serve points to safely advance after 82 minutes of work.

The Frenchman, who came in ranked No. 276 this week, is looking for his first Masters 1000 trophy. He is a three-time runner-up, last contesting a title match on this level at 2016 Monte Carlo.