Vasek Pospisil surpassed all expectations this week when he reached the semifinals of the Rogers Cup. His dream run came to an end there against fellow Canadian Milos Raonic (our Athlete of the Week for April 14-20), but he still made his mark on Canadian tennis history.
Pospisil’s string of success actually began on Sunday August 4 when he won a Challenger event in Vancouver before hopping on a red eye flight to Montreal. In the main draw on a wild card, the 71st ranked Pospisil opened Canada’s premier international tournament with his first ever victory against a top-20 opponent, defeating American John Isner. That was followed by a straight sets win against number 51 Radek Stepanek. Pospisil’s biggest breakthrough came in his third round match against world number six Tomas Berdych. Pospisil came out on top in a third set tiebreak for his first career win against a top-10 player. He would have his easiest match in the quarterfinal against Nikolay Davydenko when the 47th ranked Russian retired due to bronchitis with Pospisil leading 3-0 in the first set.
It was all part of a record-breaking week for Canadian tennis at the Masters 1000 event, one of the most prestigious stops on the pro tour outside of the Grand Slams. Pospisil and Raonic were just two of the five Canadian men (along with Jesse Levine, Filip Peliwo and Frank Dancevic) to advance to the second round. It was the first time since the Open Era began in 1968 that Canada had that many players move on in the tournament formerly known as the Canadian Open. Pospisil and Raonic became the first pair of Canadian quarterfinalists at the tournament since 1989 and the first Canadian semifinalists there since 1969.
Pospisil had set a goal to reach the top 50 by the end of the year. His semifinal appearance will more than secure that.