Toronto | Nadal downs the Greek Giant-killer
It was close but Rafa Nadal, the world No.1, won the Rogers Cup in Toronto by bringing to an end the week’s Greek Giant-killer Stefanos Tsitsipas’ excellent run which saw him eliminate Dominic Thiem, Novak Djokovic Alexander Zverev the defending champion, and Kevin Anderson.
The Spaniard, who dropped just one set throughout the week, was clearly determined not to be another of the Greek’s victims but for the last few games, it looked like the youngster celebrating his 20th birthday could turn the match around as he had done during his previous matches.
It’s a great way to start the hard-court season. Winning in Toronto is so important Rafa Nadal
There was no doubt that the top seed was always in command as he won through to collect his 80th title and 33rd at Masters level, 6-2 7-6(4) after one hour and 42 minutes.
The Spaniard broke twice in the first set and then gained and early advantage in the second set with a break in the opening game only to find himself embroiled in a tough battle towards the end when he lost his serve in the 10th game and was forced into the tiebreaker.
“It’s a great way to start the hard-court season. Winning in Toronto is so important,” Nadal said later. “You don’t win Masters 1000s very often. It’s a very important victory for me and I’m very happy.”
He added: “It’s great news. It’s a tournament that I won four times. Canada is a place that I feel comfortable. I play well. That’s it. And I played with the Canadian colours during the whole event!
“The 80th tournament win is of course a great number, an important one. I’m very happy. But it’s about another Masters 1000. Masters 1000s are tournaments that are so difficult to win, sometimes are even more difficult to win Masters 1000s than Grand Slams because you can’t avoid tough opponents. And that’s it.”
Later he was to announce that he was withdrawing from the next Masters event in Cincinnati this week
“I am very sorry to announce that I won’t be playing in Cincinnati this year. No other reason than personally taking care of my body and trying to keep as healthy as I feel now,” he said in a statement.
“I am very thankful to my friend Andre Silva, Tournament Director of the Cincinnati tournament, who after speaking to him on the phone understood what I said to him and understands the situation. I am sure the tournament will be a success and I wish him and his team all the best.
“I am also sad for those amazing fans in Cincy who always gave me great support. I am sure I’ll see them next year and I am sorry I won’t be with them this year. Thanks for all the support as always.”